The U.S. News Health Care Report reminds seniors that they need to take extra precautions when it is hot outside. Ronan Mangcucang Factora, MD, of the Center for Geriatric Medicine, Medicine Institute encourages elderly adults to stay active throughout the year and to spend time outdoors, but explains they need to be aware of the special challenges they face when exposed to hot weather conditions. Seniors have a greater risk of dehydration, lightheadedness and dizziness, heatstroke and falls.
As we age, the percentage of water in our bodies is reduced and causes us to lose the ability to regulate our body temperature as effectively as when we were younger. Additionally there are several medical conditions common to older adults that can also affect how well we regulate temperature changes in the body. The problem is further compounded by the fact that many elderly adults have a reduced capacity to feel thirst so they may not remember to drink enough fluids throughout the day. Medications such as diuretics intended to reduce excessive fluid in the body can also add to the problem.
Another reason that dehydration and heat-related problems are more common in the elderly is that older adults do not sweat as much as younger people. This makes it harder for the body to cool down when needed.
Dr. Factora points out a few commonsense suggestions for avoiding heat-related problems such as drinking fluids throughout the day and to check the color of your urine. It should be a clear light amber/yellow color if you are getting enough fluids. Another recommendation is to wear a hat when in the direct sun and to take lots of breaks in shaded or air conditioned areas.
This post is intended for informational purposes only. If you have any medical concerns please consult your health care provider.
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