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The human body's alerting mechanism

Posted Nov 25 2011 8:32pm
Last night I found myself up around 3:30. I was slightly sweaty and felt weird. I tried hard to go back to sleep but couldn't. I waited for a while thinking that I would fall back asleep. No luck. I was feeling strange. I figured that my Blood Pressure (BP) was a little low. My body felt weak and drained.

I then woke up Jairam, the tech who comes to help with my dialysis. It was quite an effort. I told him to check my Blood Pressure and infuse some saline. I also asked him to turn the ultrafiltration (UF - removal of water from the body - an important function of dialysis) down. He did all this. He then checked my BP. The higher one was 60! Which was terribly low. Probably the lowest I have ever had! He infused some more saline. My BP was now 80. I could go back to sleep in a few minutes.

I had had a heavy dinner last night. I had skipped dialysis the previous night. When I checked my weight it was 4 kgs above my dry weight. So, I set the UF target to 4 liters. What I overlooked was that I had just had a heavy meal and 4 kgs was probably only 3 kgs of fluid weight . But I had skipped dialysis the previous night and thought I could not put on anything less than 4 kgs!

The important thing I want to highlight is how my body woke up when the BP went low and I couldn't sleep back. If I would not have woken up, the result could have been disastrous. But despite being very tired, I woke and couldn't sleep back. It was almost like my body realized that something was wrong and something needed to be done.

Isn't this simply amazing? I had written about the human genome and the sheer beauty of it all and this is another example of how fascinating the human body is. It has its own little mechanisms of working. It has its own little sub-systems that are so strikingly complex and yet so strikingly wonderful.
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