Hot weather can lead to several health-related problems and extreme temperatures often have a direct impact on the body. Abnormally high heat in the surrounding air causes body temperatures to rise, more so among ageing people suffering from diseases like hyperthermia.

Hypothermia results from the failure of our body’s heat-regulating mechanisms to deal with the oppressive heat outside. Heat fatigue, heat syncope (sudden dizziness after prolonged exposure to the heat), heat cramps, heat exhaustion and heat stroke are commonly known forms of hyperthermia.

Risk for these conditions can increase with the combination of outside temperature, general health and individual lifestyle. The National Institute on Aging (NIA), a part of the National Institutes of Health, provides some of the risk factors associated with hyperthermia. They include:

1. Dehydration: Keep the body well hydrated by drinking enough water and other fluids

2. Poor blood circulation and inefficient sweat glands

3. Heart, lung and kidney diseases, as well as any illness that causes general weakness or fever

4. High blood pressure or other conditions that require changes in diet. For example, people on salt-restricted diets may increase their risk. However, salt pills should not be used without first consulting a doctor

5. Reduced perspiration, caused by medications such as diuretics, sedatives, tranquilizers and certain heart and blood pressure drugs. Taking several drugs for various conditions. It is important, however, to continue to take prescribed medication and discuss possible problems with a physician

6. Overweight or underweight: Both obesity and underweight could lead to dehydration

7. Alcoholic beverages: Beverages containing alcohol cause severe dehydration

8. Heat stroke: Heat stroke is a life-threatening form of hyperthermia. It occurs when the body is overwhelmed by heat and unable to control its temperature. Someone with a body temperature above 104 degrees Fahrenheit is likely suffering from heat stroke. The common symptoms of heat stroke confusion, combativeness, strong rapid pulse, lack of sweating, dry flushed skin, faintness, staggering, possible delirium or coma.

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