By Anna Hazard
As we age, our bodies become slower to adjust or otherwise compensate for changes in ambient temperatures. The kidneys become less effective and body water content decreases leading to greater vulnerability to dehydration as well. Seniors are also more likely to have underlying health issues that may complicate or increase the chances of a heat related illness. Such medical conditions include chronic heart/lung/kidney disease, circulatory problems, high blood pressure, diabetes, and epilepsy.
The elderly may also be less likely to notice the telltale symptoms of encroaching heat exhaustion within their own bodies (such not feeling thirsty even when one's body is low on fluids). These aspects combine to cause a total of 40% of all heat related deaths within the USA being for people age 65 and above.
Signs & Symptoms
Beating the Heat Tips
While targeted towards the elderly, these tips on beating the heat are applicable to all and can be used by the young and old alike. In particular those under the age of 5 have many of the same vulnerabilities of those over 65+ due to their still developing regulatory systems.