Elderly – Heat Stroke Risks

Following up on last week’s blog highlighting heat awareness…I’d like to address some of the actual health risks for aging parents and the elderly community caused by heat.

Summer temperatures do not need to be extreme in order to cause heat stress in an elder.  Recent studies have found that a very minimal increase in temperature, such as less than 2 degrees Fahrenheit, can have serious health consequences for the elderly — especially those who may already have a chronic health condition.  Further, it was found that variance in high daily temperatures has the effect of decreasing life expectancy.  And the temperature variability can be extremely harmful to those seniors who are battling significant health conditions.

Interestingly, research has found that the human body can and will likely adapt to temperatures in their climate zone, even in areas with high temperatures such as southern Florida.  However, it is in areas with a greater temperature swing that puts more seniors at risk.  Fluctuating temps create heat intolerance in the elderly population.

Results from a recent study showed evidence of an increasing death risk from heat stress for individuals suffering from these conditions:

  • Chronic Lung Disease
  • Diabetes
  • Heart Attack Sufferers
  • Heart Failure Sufferers
Common sense says that those seniors with such health issues are “at risk” simply because of their condition.  But research has noted that high heat, and heat variance, will increase the risk for aging adults. 
We are witnessing a conversion of issues which, when in combination, further exacerbates heat stroke:  a combination of rising temperatures, added to an aging population, mixed with the increasing prevalence of chronic conditions (see above).   This public health issue will only increase in our future.

 

JD Miller
John D. Miller is the founder/owner of Home Care Partners, LLC, a Massachusetts business providing private duty, personalized in-home assistance and companion care services to those needing help in daily activities and household functions.

Phone: (781) 378-2164
Email: jdmiller@homecarepartners.biz
Website: http://homecarepartnersma.com

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