18 February 2018 13:1
Written by Teleopieka
Weather influences the health of the senior
Weather – many healthy people feel its changes.
Meteoropathy is not found on the list of diseases but rather is treated as an ailment. It is difficult to make a proper diagnosis as there are no obvious changes which occur in the body. In addition, these ailments usually resolve spontaneously when the weather returns to normal.
Most seniors enjoy a good sense of well-being during sunny or slightly cloudy, windless and dry weather associated with high-pressure. In the meantime, changes in atmospheric pressure, strong wind, high humidity, rapidly oncoming storms and heat can adversely affect the body.
Researchers, investigating the impact of weather on health, found the effect of temperature drops and atmospheric pressure changes are the cause of an increased risk of heart failure.
Until recently, many physicians and scientists have been sceptical about such observations. They believed that there were no noticeable connections between the change in weather and the well-being of people. They explained that apart from the so-called ‘meteoropaths’ there is a large group of people who function perfectly well during all weather conditions.
Research in this area has been conducted for many years and across different countries. For the past 10 years in Canada data on over 100,000 people in the 65+ age group has been collected. In Sweden, similar studies on a group of almost 300,000 people lasted for a period of 16 years. The obtained results have demonstrated the exact effect of lower temperatures on increasing the likelihood of heart attacks or congestion.
The studies took the following into account: temperature, air humidity, atmospheric pressure and air pollution. The results show that the inhabitants of moderate climate zones in the Northern Hemisphere have a higher risk of being hospitalisation or dying during the period between October and April
The relationship described above is apparent from the human body’s response to cold. The heart begins to beat faster in order to maintain a constant body temperature. Arteries and veins constrict in response to the cold. This leads to a reduction in the thermal conductivity of the skin and an increase in blood pressure. While healthy people tolerate changing weather conditions very well, it is quite different in the case of seniors and those suffering from atherosclerosis.
Likewise, a high temperature is also not favourable. This causes vasodilation, which may cause heart palpitations, rapid breathing as well as heart rate arrhythmia. For this very reason, summer heat waves are just as dangerous for seniors.
We experience climate changes on a daily basis. Technological advances such as air conditioning and the use of a car are all factors which further prevent the body from adapting to the prevailing weather conditions.
The sensitivity of elderly people to atmospheric changes are associated with a variety of ailments: headaches, joints and muscle pains, excessive sweating, difficulty in breathing, heart palpitations, impaired concentration, irritability, feeling of anxiety, dispirited moods and states of depression.
Senior citizens with chronic illnesses may experience exacerbated levels of the above-mentioned aliments.
There is no effective treatment for the symptoms associated with weather changes. It is advisable to introduce simple changes to the daily life of seniors in order to improve the comfort of their daily life and reduce the risk of serious complications or incidents.
The most important guidelines are to ensure a proper diet and regular physical activity.
Tracking current weather conditions is very helpful as it aids in preventing possible ailments. It is difficult to imagine that a senior would observe an ever-changing aura. Fluctuations in temperature and pressure sometimes change rapidly. Different people experience weather conditions differently.
A good solution is to use automated systems which, based on regularly streamed data, automatically decide to inform seniors.
One of the most interesting solutions is the Silver Care and Rescue System – SilverCRS. This system builds a behavioural model of the patient, which takes into account the patient’s individual health card. At the same time, meteorological data and weather forecasts are collect. These two sets of data allow for the seniors, as well as their caregivers, to be effectively informed about the increased risk of unfavourable or critical conditions.
The introduction of good habits, supported by modern solutions, will definitely bring about many tangible benefits to seniors. A better state of health, being in a good condition and having an excellent sense of well-being is the recipe for a good life.