Impairments to Thermoregulation in the Elderly During Heat Exposure Events

Alison Millyard, Joe D Layden, David B Pyne, Andrew M Edwards, Saul R Bloxham

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    Heat waves represent a public health risk to elderly people, and typically result in an increased rate of hospital admissions and deaths. Studies of thermoregulation in this cohort have generally focused on single elements such as sweating capacity. Sweating capacity and skin blood flow reduce with age, reducing ability to dissipate heat. Perception of effort during heat exposure is emerging as an area that needs further investigation as the elderly appear to lack the ability to adequately perceive increased physiological strain during heat exposure. The role of the gut and endotoxemia in heat stress has received attention in young adults, while the elderly population has been neglected. This shortcoming offers another potential avenue for identifying effective integrated health interventions to reduce heat illnesses. Increasing numbers of elderly individuals in populations worldwide are likely to increase the incidence of heat wave-induced deaths if adequate interventions are not developed, evaluated, and implemented. In this narrative-style review we identify and discuss health-related interventions for reducing the impact of heat illnesses in the elderly.

    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)1-9
    Number of pages9
    JournalGerontology & geriatric medicine
    Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 15 Jun 2020


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