Seniors More Vulnerable to Heat-Related Problems
Seniors over 65 are more vulnerable to summer heat. In fact, summer heat takes a toll of about 1,000 American lives every year. 40% of deaths due to heat occur among people older than 65.
This is because the bodies of seniors contain much less water compared to younger people. Older brains are also slow to sense changes in temperature and do not recognize thirst that easily.
Surveys reveal that older people do not pay much attention to safety advice and heat warnings. Health experts say one should drink lots of water on hot days, avoid going outdoors as far as possible and stay indoors with the air conditioner on.
Older people are more vulnerable to heat because their risk of dehydration is higher as they have much less reserves of water compared to others. In young adults, there is 80% water in the body which declines to about 55% in people in their 80s.
Older seniors also typically cannot recognize dehydration symptoms such as dizziness or headache. The current heat wave in the US can cause heat exhaustion and heat stroke. So, elderly persons should take all precautions to stay healthy in this hot weather.