Rush Medical Center Home Page Information for healthcare Professionals Rush University
FIND A DOCTOR
PATIENT & VISTOR SERVICES
HEALTH INFORMATION
CLINICAL SERVICES
EVENTS & CLASSES
RUSH NEWS ROOM
CLINICAL TRIALS
RESEARCH AT RUSH
NURSING AT RUSH
WORK AT RUSH
GIVING TO RUSH

Bookmark This Page
Health Information Easy As 1, 2, 3

Easy As 1, 2, 3 …

Protect Your Brain from Hidden Hazards

Some activities carry obvious risks for brain injury — that’s why we wear a helmet for protection when we ride a bike, motorcycle or horse.

But who knew that ordinary activities such as drinking water, taking vitamins or even painting could put our brains at risk?

Marilyn Hallock, MD, an emergency medicine physician at Rush University Medical Center, explains why these behaviors could be hazardous and provides three tips to help you avoid accidental brain injury.

1. Watch your water intake. Drinking too much water can cause a condition called hyponatremia, which occurs when sodium levels in the blood become diluted. Early signs include confusion, seizures and coma. Hyponatremia can also cause the brain to swell.

Active people such as runners, particularly marathon runners, are at increased risk for hyponatremia because they may think they should be drinking water more often than they actually need to. Most healthy adults can stay hydrated by drinking when they are thirsty.

2. Read vitamin labels. Taking more than the recommended daily allowance of some vitamins can lead to brain damage. Too much vitamin A over time — more than 3,000 International Units (IU) for men or 2,333 IU for women daily — can cause headaches, nerve damage and birth defects, among other side effects. More than 100 milligrams of B6 daily for adults can cause numbness, weakness and paralysis.

A balanced diet supplies all the vitamins most people need. But if you do take a supplement, use only the recommended dosage.

3. Be careful what you inhale. Fumes from many household products — including paint, spray paint, paint thinners, solvents, permanent markers and cooking sprays — can quickly reach high concentrations in the brain. Inhaling these fumes can cause double vision, slurred speech and problems such as numbness and blindness that can be permanent. Some fumes can lead to seizures and death.

Make sure you use these products only in well-ventilated areas.

Marilyn Hallock, MD, is a member of the American College of Emergency Physicians. She is currently developing a series of online lectures for medical residents at Rush, based on patient cases from the emergency department at Rush and other locations.


 

Looking for a Doctor?

Rush University Medical Center in Chicago, is a leader in caring for people of all ages, from newborns through older adults.

Just phone (888) 352-RUSH or (888) 352-7874 for help finding the doctor at Rush who’s right for you.

Looking for More Health Information?

  • Visit Discover Rush’s Web Resource page to find articles on health topics and recent health news from Rush University Medical Center in Chicago, Illinois. You will also find many helpful links to other areas of our site.

Looking for Information About Medical Treatment and Services at Rush?

Looking for Clinical Trials at Rush?


 

Promotional Information

Past Issues
Discover Rush, 2008 - Winter
Easy As 1, 2, 3

   
Find a Doctor | Patient & Visitor Services | Health Information
Clinical Services | Events & Classes | Rush News Room | Clinical Trials
Research At Rush
Disclaimer | Privacy Statement | Site Map

© Rush University Medical Center, Chicago, Illinois