It’s time for another Austin Sports Medicine 101 class!
In our last blog, we talked about what heat cramps are and the importance of being aware of them, particularly if you live in Austin or areas of similar environment. Now that we have a basic understanding, let’s get to the source of the problem – what causes heat cramps?
Doctors and healthcare professionals aren’t exactly certain of the cause or causes of heat cramps, but there are several common theories:
- Excessive dehydration
- Extreme muscle fatiguing
- Participating in a new activity
- Poor cardiovascular performance/conditioning
- Depletion of electrolytes
- Altered neuromuscular control
When the body experiences excessive sweating, it loses more than just water; it also loses valuable electrolytes (calcium, salt, magnesium and potassium). Without these essential nutrients at their proper levels, the chance of heat cramps quickly increases. This is why cramps occur more frequently with exercise and elevated heat levels – intense sweat can rob a person of what the body needs.