Heat Cramps

Complications of Heat Illness

If you have developed a heat-related illness, you may experience serious health complications that require immediate medical attention.

Potential complications of heat-related illness include:

  • Light-headedness or fainting (syncope) can occur if you are severely dehydrated or if there is reduced blood flow to the brain
  • Rhabdomyolysis (the breakdown of skeletal muscle) produces dark, tea-colored urine from an increase in myoglobin (muscle protein) release. Symptoms can include irregular heartbeat, muscle pain, vomiting, and kidney failure.
  • Acute liver failure is a rare condition in which your liver loses its ability to work properly by removing waste products from your blood. When the liver does not function as it should, your risk of developing bacterial or fungal infections that can lead to death increases.
  • Cardiac arrhythmias are conditions in which the heart beats either too fast (tachycardia), too slowly (bradycardia), or with an abnormal pattern or rhythm.
  • Coma is an extended period of unconsciousness.

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