gordon.dewis.ca - Random musings from Gordon


Archive for the ‘Health’

Pressure and headaches

June 03, 2011 @ 15:39 By: gordon Category: Health, Weather

Regular readers will probably remember that I’ve written about the relationship between changes in air pressure and headaches on a number of occasions in the last few years, most recently in January. This morning, a friend of mine mentioned that she started the day with an optical migraine that morphed into a headache.  As it happened, I had a headache coming on at the time, so I took a quick look at Environment Canada’s website and noticed that the pressure over the last 24 hours had been steadily climbing. I took another look a few minutes ago and it seems to have peaked a couple of hours ago.

Taking a look at the surface analysis from 8am this morning, you can see a high pressure over southern Ontario. My guess is that it’s probably moved past us, which is why the pressure is starting to drop a bit. For reference, Ottawa is the red dot and the circle with X is the high pressure, just north of Lake Erie.

Anyone else plagued by headache, migraines or other things that might be caused by this?

700 posts and I don’t have to go back to the doctor

March 14, 2011 @ 19:50 By: gordon Category: Health, Meta

Yesterday evening I noticed that I was one post away from a kind of blogging milestone: namely my 700th WordPress post. (In fact, I’ve written more than 700 posts since there are some posts in my old Pivot-based blog that I didn’t import into WordPress when I made the big switch back in August 2004, but I’m not going back to count them.)

So, I’ve been looking for something to write about. I didn’t want to write another rant about annoying drivers on the Queensway or stupid drivers who don’t stop at stop signs(Oh, I had a chance to get run into by a big car carrier today that blew through a stop sign on Johnston and Southgate after work today) and it’s too early to write about the Ides of March (that’s tomorrow). We switched our clocks forward on the weekend in a vain attempt to save energy, but I grumbled about that a couple of days ago.

And then a topic came to me…


The pressure’s falling

January 11, 2011 @ 17:30 By: gordon Category: Health, Weather

I’ve written about this a couple of times in the past, but it’s been a few months since I last blogged about it so I thought it was worth revisiting.

Earlier today I started feeling crummy and several hours later I’m still feeling crummy. Checking the air pressure reading on Environment Canada’s website, I can see that I started feeling crummy shortly after the air pressure started falling. In fact, in the last six hours, the pressure has dropped almost 0.5 kPa.

This isn’t surprising given there’s a low pressure zone that’s passing to the south, as you can see in the snippet from the most recent surface analysis. (Ottawa is the red dot and Lake Huron is just north of the L.)

Hopefully, the pressure changes will settle down because feeling out of sorts and not being able to do anything about it sucks.

Feeling the weather

June 03, 2010 @ 19:53 By: gordon Category: Health, Weather

The last couple of days I’ve felt kind of crummy. The kind of crummy that often precedes a change in the weather.

If you’re in Ottawa, then you know that we’ve had unsettled weather since Wednesday morning, which corresponds to when I started feeling crummy.

imageThis isn’t the first time that I’ve commented on this phenomenon. The last time was in October 2008 when a big low-pressure zone blasted through Ottawa.

The graph shows the pressure in Ottawa for the last day or so. And during this times I’ve felt varying degrees of crummy.

When the weather was clear sky and warm earlier this week, I was feeling great (and not just because of the sunshine).

Do you feel the weather?

The first strip is always free

March 29, 2010 @ 18:16 By: gordon Category: Health, Seen on the 'net

bacon5 “Mmmm … bacon.”

Though apparently never actually uttered by Homer Simpson according to The Simpsons Archive (he did say “mmmm … unexplained bacon” in one of the Hallowe’en episodes) I know many people who feel this way when it comes to bacon.

According to a story in Sunday’s National Post, bacon and cheesecake have the same effect on your brain as heroin and cocaine. When rats that were raised on regular, healthy rat food were given unfettered access to high-fat foods, they became so addicted that even mild foot shocks weren’t enough to convince them to stop eating to excess. The changes in the rats’ brain chemistry noticed by the researchers were the same ones noticed in cases of additions to heroin and cocaine.

To break the addiction, they had to use a special virus that sort of “reset” their dopamine receptors so they would start eating healthy food again because after two weeks of being forced to go “cold turkey” (so to speak) the rats had not returned to their healthy diet. It seems they would rather stave than eat healthy.

This explains much.

Carbon monoxide

December 16, 2008 @ 00:42 By: gordon Category: General, Health

I was getting caught up with a friend recently and he mentioned that he and his wife had had a bit of a scare a few days ago when their carbon monoxide detector went off. They quickly got out of the house and called the fire department who confirmed that there were elevated levels of CO in the house, particularly in the basement near their natural gas furnace and water heater.

Fortunately, no one was hurt.

A furnace guy spent three hours checking out their furnace and water heater, but he couldn’t find any problems, so the source of the carbon monoxide hasn’t been positively identified, which is a bit troubling. But they do have the carbon monoxide detector upstairs and I think they’re going to get another one for the basement.

Carbon monoxide is a colourless, odourless, tasteless gas that is highly toxic. It is formed during the partial combustion of compounds that contain carbon, particularly in internal-combustion engines. Basically, it bonds with red blood cells much more readily than oxygen molecules do, which brings on a whole host of unpleasant effects up to, and including, death. If you are poisoned, chances are that you won’t realize it since one of the effects is to make you dizzy and confused.

Purging it from your system isn’t simply a matter of getting into fresh air. Because it bonds so well to red blood cells, it takes a long time to work its way out, though breathing pure oxygen can help accelerate the process. There can be long-term effects such as memory loss, confusion or even permanent brain damage.

Sadly, six people from two different families in Ontario have died in the last month due to CO poisoning and it kills 300 people in North America every year.

Bad stuff.


Feeling the pressure changes

October 28, 2008 @ 17:29 By: gordon Category: Health, Weather

Over the last couple of years, I’ve noticed that I start feeling crummy between 18 and 24 hours before a significant weather change. I haven’t kept any records to see if it’s predictable, but I suspect it is.

Well, yesterday evening around 10pm or so, I started feeling crummy, which persisted through to sometime this afternoon. Even now, I’m still feeling a little blah. I happened to see the nurse at work this afternoon and we chatted about this for a bit. She told me that I’m not the first person to mention something like thisair-pressure---ottawa---28- to her and described, almost perfectly my symptoms, namely feeling kind of "fuzzy" like you have a headache about to form.

So, I looked up the air pressure readings for Ottawa for the last twenty-four hours. I started feeling under the weather (sorry!) around the same time the pressure started dropping. If you click on the graph at the right, you’ll be able to see a larger version.

thumbnail-Latest-gfacn33_cl The graphical area forecast (GFA) for the Ontario-Quebec region for 8pm this evening (click on the image to the left) shows Ottawa sitting on the 996 millibar isobar, so it doesn’t look like the pressure is going to drop much more than it has.  (At 5pm it was 99.9 kPa or 999 millibars.)

Oh, and I just looked out the window to see the first snowflakes of the season.  Sigh.