At Twitter as Jim Lantern @TimeglassZone
Crushed Ice Addiction, Anemia, Cold Urticaria, Health
Special Report by Jim Lantern, Lantern Timeglass Journal
Wednesday 27 July 2016
I’m seeking others like me who share this interest – and disorder possibly with same symptoms. People interested in this subject may use Comments under this Special Interest posting to participate like a short forum. Likewise at Twitter via the hashtags.
Ice addiction is an indication of – a symptom of – anemia – in particular iron deficiency anemia. This appears to be true for most but not all cases. There may be additional or other causes or reasons for this addiction.
Causes are different than but similar to triggers, and both of those are different than symptoms. However, by domino effect – chain reactions – one symptom can cause another symptom or other symptoms. An original cause can be genetic, carried by DNA, the flaw within RNA and its relationship with metabolism. Like pollen allergies for example. The cause is a flaw that makes a person sensitive to pollen. The pollen is the trigger, not the cause. However, the pollen causes the symptoms, such as sneezing. The original cause is likely RNA damaged within cells by oxidants, such as pollution in air, food, and water – including ice (depending on sources and source locations).
As far back as I can remember, born in 1956, I’ve preferred crushed ice – or otherwise tiny ice cubes – to normal size ice cubes. My father had a full service bar (with bar stools) at one end of our family room of the house where my family lived 1959-1965. For a variety of mixed drinks and beer as well as a variety of soft drinks, for personal use as well as for guests and people attending parties at our house. It included a hand-crank ice crusher and bucket. My father made crushed ice and put it in a glass with 7 Up for me, and I’ve liked that ice option ever since that first time.
Then when our family would travel on vacations, usually first or second week of June each summer, we would stay at motels. There we made use of free ice from ice machines put in small plastic ice buckets. I especially liked the tiny ice cubes made by some of those ice machines, especially the cubes that look like tiny barrels with a hole through the center like a cylindrical donuts. I enjoyed using my tong to move them around in my mouth until melted.
I never chewed the ice – I don’t eat the ice. I slowly let it melt in my mouth. Doing so cools me off on a hot day, and helps to relax me. In fact, for me, it is a very relaxing experience, helping to knock down any stress – emotional or mental and some physical kinds. A way of unwinding at the end of a day . . . or with access and allowed to use at any time (such as while at a job), then all day . . . becoming a kind of addiction. I’d have my cold drink with crushed ice, or just a cup of crushed ice – or tiny ice cubes – without a beverage or water, like some people smoke cigarettes throughout the day for similar reasons. I never smoked cigarettes (or anything else) because of a lifelong history of bronchial asthma. As an adult, I discovered drinking Dr Pepper, unlike any other beverage, knocks down depression – emotional or mental and physical – within about 15 minutes. So with crushed ice or tiny ice cubes it became a kind of medicine – a kind of treatment – always making me feel better.
The affordable electric ice crushes I’ve bought and used in the past usually didn’t last long. Likewise the hand crank ice crushers with bucket, of which some parts would eventually rust and break. I’ve never had a refrigerator that makes crushed or tiny cube ice dispensed from the outside of a door, but I’ve always wanted one – including a tap for cold water. Ice trays in the freezer are acceptable, but the cubes are usually too large. The trays made for tiny ice cubes don’t empty easily – the cubes getting stuck in the trays. Therefore, I’ve preferred to buy bags of ice – usually crushed ice or my favorite tiny ice cubes. Recently I found an affordable source that has bags of the tiny barrel-shaped ice.
I drank alcoholic beverages from 1976-1986 (ages 20-30). Because of my unusual metabolism it was impossible for me to get drunk. Very rare, but not unheard of. Alcohol was a stimulant, not a depressant. Like a super fuel for me, speeding up physical reflexes and improving accuracy, as well as clarity and speed of thought. I quit drinking them when I got my first bleeding stomach ulcer in August 1986, because of the extreme pain I’d experience when the alcohol would hit the ulcers in my stomach – enough pain to drop me to my knees and cause me to scream.
Ten years later, when completely healed, I suddenly realized I could drink them again if I wanted to. What I did not know is how much the prices of alcoholic beverages had increased during the past 10 years. So when I went into a nightclub and was about to order a rum and coke from the menu I was hit with price shock. For the price of that single drink I could go down the street to the Bonanza Steak House and get a country fried steak dinner. No contest. Therefore, because of cost, I never went back to drinking alcoholic beverages. Also, bleeding stomach ulcers have returned a few times since then, so the pain would have stopped me again anyway. My father had stomach ulcers, so I’ve believed it is genetic, and as our health histories were nearly identical. He too quit drinking alcoholic beverages for the same reason.
Soft drinks didn’t cause any pain, so my consumption of soft drinks – usually with crushed ice or tiny ice cubes – greatly increased after I quit drinking alcoholic beverages in August 1986 at age 30. By the way, I was never much of a coffee drinker, except when desired on very cold days.
The history of bleeding stomach ulcers of course caused anemia – a low hemoglobin count. At one time, when I was admitted to a hospital for emergency treatment, it was discovered to only be 4.7. A nurse told me “Human life can’t exist under 5.0 so right now we don’t know what is keeping you alive.” Perhaps God, or maybe I’m not human? I was given an emergency blood transfusion of 3 pints of blood platelets that time . . . 3 pints of whole blood the next time it happened. A normal hemoglobin count for a man my size and weight (150 pounds on 5 feet 6 inches height) is usually 14.0 – but 10.0 to 12.0 has been my average norm when not bleeding internally.
There’s also been iron deficiency anemia, which may mean not enough iron in diet. It is normally difficult for the body to absorb iron. I have referred to my condition as iron absorption anemia – being more difficult for my body to absorb iron than it is for normal people.
I had a conversation about this with a new doctor (MD) treating me in April 2008 while I still lived in Wichita Kansas, just before I moved 3 May 2008 to Norman Oklahoma (where I still live). I don’t now recall how it happened to come out in conversation, but apparently I had mentioned my craving for ice. She then informed me that a craving for ice is a symptom of anemia.
So when I have a craving for crushed ice or tiny ice cubes, not to chew but to slowly melt in my mouth, is it proof I’m currently suffering from anemia? Perhaps, but perhaps not always. I believe – more often than not – it is simply a craving for when I feel I need to cool off or unwind from stress.
The use of ice has been so great and so often that it has lowered my normal body temperature from the normal human body temperature of 98.6 by one degree to 97.6 most of the time. Doctors have remarked about my normal being below normal, and that although it is rare it is not unique. What they did not know is the cause. Or, maybe the reverse is true? maybe it runs full circle? Maybe a lower than normal body temperature contributes to the craving for ice, because the air temperature usually feels warmer to me than it really is. Like the heat index (what it feels like) in weather forecasts – such as 95F feeling like 100F – depending on dew point, humidity, and wind.
What I did not know, until this month – causing me to write this report, is that my craving for ice has been causing another health disorder for which the cause has never before been determined. I always had doctors unwilling to do tests, and unsympathetic for the pain usually refusing to do anything and just blowing it off as unimportant. There have been attacks of skin rash and hives for no apparent reason. The attacks usually don’t itch, but are painful with burning and stinging sensations. Usually red rash rough patches on which are hives that look like tiny insect bites. I’d never noticed any of the attacks coinciding with my consumption of ice.
Likewise, it took many years for me to notice a connection between getting migraine headaches and consumption of my favorite snack – Nacho Cheese Corn Chips. Turns out it is the MSGs (monosodium glucamates) in that product and similar products. I skipped them for a month. No headaches. Had some the following month – got a migraine headache within 24 hours, lasting 24 to 36 hours. Only Excedrin – containing aspirin, acetaminophen, and caffeine – knock down my headaches. Consequently, the aspirin therein hurts my stomach – triggering or making worse stomach ulcers – can cause them to bleed. Then anemia. Then craving for ice. Then the skin rash – usually knocked down with extra doses of dyphenhydramine. Then drowsy, feeling depressed, consuming Dr Pepper – with crushed ice or tiny ice cubes – to knock down the depression. Domino effect – the chain reactions – sometimes going full circle.
I’ve determined, in my case, the skin rash caused by the ice is known as Cold Urticaria – read the Wikipedia article. Also read the Wikipedia article for Iron Deficiency Anemia. Excerpt: “Unusual obsessive food cravings, known as pica, may develop. Pagophagia or pica for ice has been suggested to be specific, but is actually neither a specific or sensitive symptom, and is not helpful in diagnosis. When present, it may (or may not) disappear with correction of iron-deficiency anemia.”
Now what do I do? Give up ice? Just drink Dr Pepper from cans? Maybe just reduce ice intake instead of gorging on it most of a day.
As for the MSGs in food, especially certain snacks – I just can’t reduce those – I’ve discovered any amount triggers my headaches. In fact, it has become so common with other people that the chip companies lobbied the government (FDA) to be allowed to no longer list them on packages for some products. So not seeing MSGs listed does not mean the product does not contain any MSGs. Likewise an ingredient used in some kinds of potato chips is known to cause severe diarrhea in some people – actually so many people that the maker no longer list it as an ingredient – so people looking for it listed will not see it listed and will then buy the product.
Can’t trust any business anymore, as well as for our own government (such as the FDA) to protect us. Greed rules. We live in a vulture culture.
Likewise, most doctors have become useless for this kind of thing. Therefore, we have to figure it out on our own. Also, to become strong enough with willpower to manage our own health problems and needed treatment. Fighting any addiction isn’t easy. Of that, there is no doubt.