During summer the temperatures in India range anywhere between 35 and 45 degrees centigrade.As the temperature rises, the core temperature of the body also rises and the ability to for the natural mechanism to keep us cool get overwhelmed. These rising temperatures can affect any of us if certain precautions are not taken. People over 65 years of age are at a greater risk of heat related illnesses due to rapid onset of heat related conditions.
As we age, our bodies become less efficient with respect to maintaining the body temperature. Sweating is one of the mechanisms the body uses to cope with heat. With age, when the body heats up, the brain may not send the signal required to release hormones that cause sweating. As a result of this, senior citizens fall prey to the scorching temperatures during summer.
Enlisted below are some of the common heal-related illnesses that affect seniors:
- Dehydration– It occurs when the loss of fluids from our body is greater than our intake of fluids. For seniors, their sense of thirst decreases as they age. So they may not feel thirsty even when they need water. Certain medicines and an age related kidney disease, kidney failure, renal failure can increase their risk of getting dehydrated. In most cases dehydration may be reversed through increased intake of fluids, however medical attention is required in cases of severe dehydration.
- Heat Stroke– Heat stroke occurs when the body is unable to cool itself and its temperature is about 40 degrees centigrade. It occurs when the body is exposed to high temperatures for a long time. Heat stroke can be life-threatening and can potentially cause damage to the brain and other organs. It usually goes hand-in-hand with dehydration and physical exertion.
- Heat Exhaustion– This happens due to excessive sweating resulting in loss of water and salts. If left untreated, it can lead to a heat stroke. Exposure to the sun for a prolonged duration coupled with humidity and strenuous physical activity causes heat exhaustion.
- Heat Cramps– It is a milder version of heat exhaustion. A person with heat cramps will experience muscle spasms in the abdomen, arms and calves as a result of loss of salts and fluids through sweating. Heat cramps occur after physical activity when the body has low reserves of fluids and salts. This may lead to or be a symptom of heat exhaustion.
It is important to be aware of your body and pay attention to any symptoms that may indicate possible illness due to overheating of the body.
Symptoms you need to watch out for:
- Muscle spasms
- Rapid heart beat
- Flushed skin
- Dry skin
- Low blood pressure
- High body temperature
- Lack or excessive sweating
- Blurred vision
- Loss of consciousness
It is possible to beat the heat and not fall victim to the harshness of the summer sun. In our next article we will talk about how you can manage the heat and enjoy all the good things associated with summer without a worry.
For more information and helpful guidance feel free to reach out to the Medical Team at One Life Home Healthcare to have a checkup done at the comfort of your home. The most common services availed are Home Nursing, Basic Bedside Assistant, Skilled Nursing at Home, Registered Nurse Services at Home and Medical Doctor visit at Home.