As they say, it’s not the heat, it’s the humidity. This is especially true for older people who have health conditions such as heart disease, lung disease, kidney disease, and high blood pressure (hypertension).
In general, seniors are greater risk for heat-related conditions, such as dehydration, heat stress, and sunstroke. Their bodies have a diminishing ability to regulate their temperature. Since they are more likely to take medications than younger people, they are more prone to the temperature-disregulating side effects of some of their medications.
Even when the temperature is relatively mild, when the humidity is higher than 70 seniors are disproportionately subject to dehydration, according to the US Department of Veteran Affairs.
This is because one of the ways in which the body cools itself is through sweating. But seniors sweat less than younger people. Moreover, sweating only helps if the sweat can evaporate. And if it’s humid, sweat doesn’t evaporate efficiently, and body temperature continues to rise.
In addition, sweating decreases blood volume. As a result, the heart needs to work much harder to pump that smaller volume of blood throughout the body.
The takeaway: seniors should take extra care on humid days, even if the temperature is comfortable.
At Atlantic Coast Healthcare and Rehabilitation Center, in Lakewood, NJ, we pay close attention to the needs of our residents.
Or better yet, come see for yourself: Contact us to schedule a tour by calling 732-364-7100, or by clicking here.