September 30, 2014

Heat especially dangerous to elderly

It’s especially important to keep an eye on older people during extended hot weather. Dr. Irene Hamrick is a geriatrician with UW Health. She says there are a couple of things which make older people more susceptible to hot weather. For one thing, we actually lose some sweat glands as we age, and we have less body water. “The other thing is that we have less body water percentage,” she said. “At age 80 we only have about 45 to 50 percent in men, and about 40 to 45 percent in women.” Combine that with health concerns such as high blood pressure or other heart conditions, and it’s easy to see how older people can get in trouble in the heat, even if they’re drinking enough water. Hamrick says it’s important that older people not be left alone for extended periods in the heat – which means making a point to check in on older neighbors and relatives.