Seniors at highest risk for heat stroke and heat-related illness

Seniors at highest risk for heat stroke and heat-related illnessIn the wake of recent heat waves, seniors are at the highest risk for heat stroke and other heat-related illnesses. The risk of heat stroke is particularly high for the elderly with chronic illnesses.

Hyperthermia is a condition of the overheated body that is unable to control its temperature. This is manifested in the form of heat fatigue, heat-related dizziness, heat cramps, and heat exhaustion.


Risk factors of hyperthermia include:

  • Dehydration
  • Poor blood circulation
  • Reduction in sweat production as a result of aging
  • High blood pressure or other health conditions requiring a low-salt diet
  • Heart, lung, and kidney disease
  • Being extremely overweight or underweight
  • Alcohol consumption
Seniors living with heart disease or diabetes are advised to stay in cool, air-conditioned areas, such as libraries or malls, when the temperatures are rising.

The warning signs of heat stroke include:

  • Fever
  • Confusion
  • Strong, rapid pulse
  • Dry, flushed skin
  • Lack of sweating
  • Feeling faint
  • Staggering
  • Coma

If you begin to notice these signs of heat stroke, you should try to cool down as quickly as possible. This means moving to the shade or an air-conditioned area, applying cool compresses to areas like the wrist, armpit, or groin, and drinking water or apple juice.

Also, read Bel Marra Health’s article: Heat rash causes, symptoms, and home remedies.


Author Bio

Mohan Garikiparithi got his degree in medicine from Osmania University (University of Health Sciences). He practiced clinical medicine for over a decade before he shifted his focus to the field of health communications. During his active practice he served as the head of the Dept. of Microbiology in a diagnostic centre in India. On a three-year communications program in Germany, Mohan developed a keen interest in German Medicine (Homoeopathy), and other alternative systems of medicine. He now advocates treating different medical conditions without the use of traditional drugs. An ardent squash player, Mohan believes in the importance of fitness and wellness.