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Summer and Your Health

Summer is my favorite season. But many people dread summer, with good reason. For seniors and people with certain health conditions, high outdoor temperatures can provoke physical vulnerabilities to become annoying, debilitating, or even life threatening.

Here are some effects that the summer heat can have on seniors and those with certain health conditions. Please refer to the links for more in depth information.

1. Being Over Age 65

Heat stroke is the most serious heat-related illness and can lead to permanent disability or death. Seniors are more prone to heat stress and heat exhaustion than younger people (except children under 4). Read this article by the CDC on how to prevent and treat heat stress and heat exhaustion in persons over age 65 .

2. Having Multiple Sclerosis

Heat can cause “pseudoexacerbations” of MS symptoms, making summer uncomfortable and interfering with normal activity. However, these are not usually permanent. If persons with MS take precautions during the summer, and cool off quickly after becoming overheated, they can keep their symptoms at bay.

3. Having Diabetes

Over half of all persons with type 1 and type 2 diabetes have difficulty adjusting to rises in temperature , leaving them susceptible to dangerously high body temperatures. The medications taken by diabetic people also can affect their ability to adapt to extreme heat . It is important for diabetic persons to keep themselves and their supplies out of extended time in high heat.

4. Having Asthma, COPD, or Other Lung Related Illnesses

Fluctuations in outdoor temperature can prompt asthma attacksin some individuals.Extreme heat waves have been linked to a spike in deaths for persons with lung related illnesses such as COPD. But precautions can keep people with lung problems safe during the summer months.

5. Taking Certain Medications

Here is a partial list of some drugs that can make people more vulnerable to dehydration and/or interfere with their bodies’ ability to regulate temperature.

6. Being Overweight

Fatal heatstroke occurs 3.5 times more frequently in overweight or obese persons than those of average body weight. Here are someprecautionsto take so that persons with excess body weight are not overcome by high body temperature.

7. Having Cardiovascular Disease

Due to reduced blood flow and taking heart related medications, people with cardiovascular disease may not tolerate summer heat as well as others. When heart failure is present, high temperatures may be especially dangerous.

8. Having Lupus

In over half the cases, lupus patients will suffer flare-ups of symptoms from even brief exposures to sun or heat . These flare-ups can last a long time and even lead to serious complications such as kidney failure or skin cancer. For these reasons, people with lupus should follow doctor’s orders regarding heat exposure.

While this list is not comprehensive, I hope it prompts those of you with risk factors to take extra precautions during the summer. If you know of someone who is at risk from high temperatures, make a point to check on them periodically. Summer can be fun if you are careful!

Article submitted by Peggy Mace, CEO of Outlook Life. Outlook life specializes in life insurance for individuals with difficult medical conditions. For more information, or to get a free quote visit


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