Readers ask: Why Do The Elderly Die In The Heat?

In the elderly, the increased cardiovascular demand during heat waves is often fatal due to increased strain on an already compromised left ventricle. Not surprisingly, excess deaths during heat waves 1) occur predominantly in older individuals and 2) are overwhelmingly cardiovascular in origin.

Why do seniors die in heat?

When the volume decreases, blood pressure decreases, and that can lead to people passing out and injuring themselves. Low blood volume also puts additional stress on the heart, making it work harder to get blood throughout the body.

Why do more people die when hot?

One of the main causes of death from overheating is dehydration. Professor Mike Tipton, from the University of Portsmouth, told Sky News: “The body’s defence against heat is to sweat, and with that, the blood thickens and the likelihood of it clotting rises.

Why does heat bother the elderly?

Older adults are especially vulnerable to developing heat stroke when temperatures are high because of the aging body’s decreased capacity to adapt to changes in body temperature. Heat stroke is a medical emergency and can cause: high body temperatures (103ºF or higher)

How does a person die from a heatwave?

If it gets very hot, the body tries to regulate the heat. But when our body temperature gets too high, these regulating mechanisms stop working. The body then stops sending sufficient amounts of blood and oxygen to central organs. This leads to cells dying in the organs.

How long does it take to die in heat?

For some, this process happens quickly—sometimes within two or three hours. That’s part of what makes it so lethal: You can go from feeling bothered by the heat to dead in 90 minutes. Lee worked in the hospital during the heat wave, and saw many elderly people come in and just say they were tired and didn’t know why.

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How does someone die of heat?

A heat wave can kill you directly by inducing heatstroke, which damages the brain, the kidneys, and other organs. Or it can increase your chances of succumbing to a heart condition, a stroke, or breathing problems.

What are the signs of dehydration in seniors?

Signs of dehydration include:

  • Feeling unquenchable thirst.
  • Few or no tears.
  • Dry, sticky mouth.
  • Not urinating frequently.
  • Dark-colored urine.
  • Unexplained tiredness.
  • Feeling dizzy or lightheaded.
  • Confusion.

What damage can a heat wave cause?

Heat can cause severe dehydration, acute cerebrovascular accidents and contribute to thrombogenesis (blood clots). People with chronic diseases that take daily medications have a greater risk of complications and death during a heatwave, as do older people and children.

What are the symptoms of heatstroke?

Symptoms of heat stroke include:

  • Confusion, altered mental status, slurred speech.
  • Loss of consciousness (coma)
  • Hot, dry skin or profuse sweating.
  • Seizures.
  • Very high body temperature.
  • Fatal if treatment delayed.

What are signs of heat exhaustion?


  • Heavy sweating.
  • Cold, pale, and clammy skin.
  • Fast, weak pulse.
  • Nausea or vomiting.
  • Muscle cramps.
  • Tiredness or weakness.
  • Dizziness.
  • Headache.

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