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poby

Fasting - a cautionary tale

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poby

I'm a staunch believer in fasting.  The scientific evidence is overwhelming of the benefits of such.  It is proven to be prophylactic with regard to cancer, diabetes, high blood pressure and many other problems.  For the last 15 years I have mostly only eaten after 6pm so fast daily for around 20 hours.  I have blood work done every year or so and the results are always excellent without any need for medication.  Now while I may be evangelical about the health benefits of fasting, I am not a health fanatic.  I mostly eat only vegetables (which I love!) but occasionally pig out on pizza and french fries and cheesecake etc.  I also eat too much chocolate and often too much during the 4 hours each day I do my eating.  I also don't get anywhere near enough exercise.  I do however like to do extended water fasts a couple of times a year.  i.e. Only black coffee or water for 3 to 7 days.  Overall my health is excellent and my immune system very strong.

However...

I have just finished a 3 day water fast, that was intended to be 7 days.  I have never done an extended fast in Philippines and I don't think I will try it again here.  You see I like to walk especially when fasting as it reduces hunger and muscle loss while enhancing ketosis (fat burning).  I woke up this morning, took a few steps and had to grab the table to prevent myself from falling.  I realised immediately the signs of low blood pressure brought about by too little sodium and determined to buy some salt to drink in water.  But better I should have immediately got some gatorade and not delayed.  Later that day I was walking down Ramos feeling fine, stopped, bent down to tie a shoelace, stood up, checked my phone.... and the next thing I remember is lying on my back, my head banging up and down on the ground, consciously aware I was having a seizure and being entirely unable to do anything about it.  I had no control whatsoever over my body and all I could do was really really wish I would stop banging my head on the ground.  I don't know how long the episode lasted but my conscious awareness I'm guessing was about 5 seconds before my head stopped moving.  I then got up and saw my empty phone case and a short distance further my phone (luckily undamaged).  A kind lady at a nearby sari sari stall came and insisted I sit down for a while.

I have fasted many times before much longer than 3 days without any problems, however I have never fasted and walked in such a hot humid environment as I have the last 3 days.  The heavy sweating and associated salt loss undoubtedly dangerously lowered my blood pressure.  Which incidentally has always been on the low side of normal anyway.

Bottomline, if you feel dizzy or unsteady standing up, it's probably low blood pressure and something you need to do something about.  I seem to have suffered no ill effects from my brief seizure however blacking out like that can be fatal if you hit your head on the way down.  Not to mention the very real danger of being robbed while incapacitated.

Edited by poby
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Dafey

Hey Poby,

I'm very glad you weren't hurt worse during your episode. You were very fortunate that a good Samaritan came to your aid.

May I ask...are you older than 50? 

On 5/21/2018 at 12:04 AM, poby said:

while I may be evangelical about the health benefits of fasting, I am not a health fanatic

Is your fasting for religious concerns above the health benefits? 

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poby
12 minutes ago, Dafey said:

Hey Poby,

I'm very glad you weren't hurt worse during your episode. You were very fortunate that a good Samaritan came to your aid.

May I ask...are you older than 50? 

Is your fasting for religious concerns above the health benefits? 

I just turned 56.

I am an atheist.  The only thing I am absolutely certain of is the non-existence of god.  I fast purely for health reasons. The evidence of life extension and debilitating disease prevention is overwhelmingly proven in mice and blood markers in human studies strongly suggests the same applies.  But I have learned I need to be a bit more careful and less cavalier about it.  Fasting stresses the body like exercise does and like exercise it has a wealth of health benefits.  But also like exercise, if done improperly it can be harmful.  I have fasted many times without ill affects and such has made me careless.  I should have heeded the warning I got when I arose from bed.  It made me aware my blood pressure was low and that I should drink some salts but I failed to appreciate the urgency and how dangerous it is to sweat when salt deprived.

 

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Semper paratus

Not a health fanatic ?  

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Karadjoa

I take one of those oral rehydration salt packs every two days, 16p at most pharmacies, when asking for them, just say hydrite.

Was trying to insert a picture, but it won't work.

 

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poby
1 minute ago, Semper paratus said:

Not a health fanatic ?  

Not even close.  I am too sedentary and I love to eat!  I often eat too much, (albeit within a restricted daily time window).  While fasting has sensitised my sense of taste such that foods I crave the most tend to be at the more healthy end - vegetables rather than sugar laden junk,  I do on occasion pig out on pizza, french fries, cheesecake etc.  Fasting enables me to eat pretty much whatever I want, as much as I want, just not all the time.  I also on occasion partake of umm... "recreational supplements" which almost certainly do more harm than good.  Fasting at least to some extent heals the damage done by eating rubbish etc.  Ironically, by occasionally restricting myself, I am able to enjoy a diet without guilt or restriction.  In other words... Have my cake and eat it too :)

While I refute the label of "health fanatic", I am perhaps health conscious but anyone over 50 who isn't is headed to an early grave.  I think most of us of this vintage are at least aware of the dangers of excessive consumption especially of the wrong types of food.  What we choose to do about it is up to each individual.

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savarity

I agree about the health benefits, but there also seem to be some warning out there about the dangers of fasting longer than 24 hours.

At the same time... I mean all of this is just alerting us to the importance of... eating!

LOL. Going to tell us about the need to breath regularly next? Just kidding, but it did seem a bit funny in that regard.

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cookie47

Poby, I'm glad that you are ok now.

Not sure if i agree with all this fasting
Stuff, but that's for you to decide.
I'm a bit overweight in the gut and would like to loose a bit but fighting a loosing battle. Ha,,

Note, below is not medical advise.

In regards to dehydration. Although normal table salt will do the job in the short term the best thing to have is complete electrolyte replacement.

Commercial products are expensive however reading i found that coconut juice is one of the best.I read somewhere that it was used as a saline replacement during ww2 in the Pacific.

I drink commercial coconut juice "in a can" daily.and fresh if available. After a long day in the heat i do feel better.

Get well.





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Oz Jon

Well, for the last 12 months, I've been fasting 1 or 2 days a week. Not difficult to do

I do it to get rid of a (fairly small) roll of fat on my belly, but primarily to reduce my blood cholesterol, avoiding the need to take medication.

In the non-fasting days, I eat pretty much whatever I want, but in moderation. Including lots of cheese and chocolate ( both high fat) and I don't get anywhere near enough exercise . Sitting down at a computer much of the time and driving everywhere.

Nevertheless, it's working! ... I suspect that my genes are the controlling factor.

I'm 83, smoke and drink a bottle of wine a day.

On-track to live forever, or at least, die happy! - Lol!

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cookie47

Oz John,


83, good on you mate. Jeez there's hope for me now.

I feel better already..

The trouble is my wife puts so much good food on the table. I say to her "I'm cutting down". She says Yeh Right... Tomorrow..

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GBT62

I'd recommend a blood pressure monitor for home use. I have had mild high blood pressure for last decade (hereditary) and have a proper inflatable-cuff monitor my phone plugs into. The app records it for showing the Dr for any appointments (like I recently had at Chong Hua). It shows them when they get the new meds suggestions wrong sometimes.

I'd also recommend the Executive Health Checkup there - I had it done last year for my medical requirement for my PRA retirement visa. I wanted a proper checkup - not the kind they do in 3 minutes for the LTO licenses ?

It was comprehensive, quick. came with free coffee and snacks - and didn't cost too much. They found I had low cholesterol, and asked if I was vegetarian. I said I'll increase my daily pork intake - and I have ?

I try to be healthy and exercise generally daily - and I am sure the SRP bike rides will likely kill me - and it won't be the heat or exhaustion...

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cookie47

Good idea,
We do have a blood pressure monitor, just needs new batteries. Doc in au says don't get paranoid checking it toooo often. (in my case i might add). Living in the outback we could just call into the clinic at anytime without appointment.




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poby

There is a clinic in Siberia that specialises in fasting cures.  Fasts are medically supervised and can run anywhere from 7 to 21 days.  For more than 50 years they have been operating and claim 70% are either cured or symptoms significantly reduced.  Not just diabetes and cholesterol but a broad range of ailments including eczema, chronic allergies, rheumatism etc.

While there is beginning to be a lot more research on the benefits of fasting, it's not something that drug companies will fund for obvious reasons.  Fact is, you probably don't need statins if you can fast a few days a month and eat a sensible diet the rest of the time.

There is also mounting evidence that fasting drastically reduces chemotherapy side affects to the point where stronger more effective chemo can be used.  There is also evidence that fasting helps to stop cancers spreading by inhibiting cell growth, in addition to the autophagy that can, in some cases actively kill cancerous cells.

 

Want to run a marathon when you turn 101?

 

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Headshot

Poby, it sounds like you had a grand mal seizure. No matter what else you do, you really need to go to a doctor who specializes in these things and get fully checked out. It sounds like you are quite happily self-diagnosing yourself, but every once in a while you should check in with a professional to get a reality check. There are a lot of different things that can cause a grand mal seizure, and you need to make sure you are correct in your diagnosis before you go merrily on your way. We wouldn't want to lose you because you miss something serious and let it go too long before getting yourself checked.

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poby
9 minutes ago, Headshot said:

Poby, it sounds like you had a grand mal seizure. No matter what else you do, you really need to go to a doctor who specializes in these things and get fully checked out. It sounds like you are quite happily self-diagnosing yourself, but every once in a while you should check in with a professional to get a reality check. There are a lot of different things that can cause a grand mal seizure, and you need to make sure you are correct in your diagnosis before you go merrily on your way. We wouldn't want to lose you because you miss something serious and let it go too long before getting yourself checked.

Yeah for sure any seizure shouldn't be taken lightly and I will definitely be seeing a doctor when we return home at the end of next month.  I just don't feel the need to rush to a doctor here.  I have found the quality of the medical profession here to be somewhat.... variable.  I have no medical training but everything that happened before and after seems to point to low blood pressure due to insufficient salt.  When I got home I had a lot of cup-a-soups (loaded with salt) and the next day felt totally fine without any unsteadiness at all.

I had a checkup and bloodwork done a few months ago and it was all good.  But yeah as soon as I get back, I'm getting checked out again.

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