Why feeling cold is a concerning symptom for elderly patients?
A person’s health can be drastically impacted by various changes to their body as they age. A common symptom of aging is feeling cold all the time. The inconvenience may seem insignificant, but it could indicate something much more serious. Feeling cold in elderly individuals should not be taken lightly as it may indicate morbidity. Hypothermia, cardiovascular disease, and infections in older adults are associated with consistently feeling cold. Feeling cold concerns older adults as they have less body fat and muscle mass than younger individuals. As we age, our bodies gradually lose some body tissues that help regulate temperature. Lack of enough insulation from body fat or the ability to generate heat through muscle activity, older adults are more likely to become cold.
Aging causes blood vessels to become narrower and less flexible resulting in reduced blood flow throughout the body including extremities. It decreased blood flow makes it harder for the body to maintain its core temperature leading to feelings of being constantly chilled. Certain medical conditions commonly found in older adults can also cause cold feelings. Low metabolism can be caused, by thyroid conditions such as hypothyroidism. does feeling cold in elderly indicate morbidity? This causes one’s body temperature to drop below normal, resulting in constant chills even when indoors with warm clothing on. Similarly, diabetes mellitus too can lead seniors to feel colder due to high glucose levels interfering with circulation resulting in peripheral neuropathy whereby nerves do not function properly leading to decreased sensitivity towards external temperatures.
Malnutrition or dehydration – both common issues among elderly individuals – also contribute significantly towards making them feel colder than usual since their bodies lack sufficient energy stores required for keeping them warm. Feeling cold can quickly develop into a significant health concern. One of the most common complications associated with constant chills is hypothermia – where the body temperature drops dangerously low to 95°F. Hypothermia can confuse the body and lead to organ failure if not treated promptly and correctly. Moreover, feeling cold all the time can also make older adults more susceptible to infections. Our immune systems rely on our core body temperature to be within a specific range for optimal functioning. When this temperature drops due to prolonged periods of coldness, it makes us more vulnerable to illnesses such as the flu or pneumonia.
So what steps can be taken by caregivers or family members to help elderly loved ones who feel cold?
- Ensure they are well-dressed for cold weather conditions. It may include layering clothing or using blankets and heating pads indoors, especially during winter.
- Encourage physical activity whenever possible. Exercise generates heat, keeping our bodies warmer and fighting peripheral neuropathy caused by diabetes mellitus.
- Proper nutrition is maintained through balanced diets rich in proteins and essential nutrients required for healthy metabolism levels since malnutrition contributes significantly to feelings of chills in elderly individuals.
- Encourage regular medical check-ups, particularly among those with underlying medical issues known for causing consistent feelings of chills like thyroid problems or diabetes mellitus. So that any necessary interventions could be undertaken as early as possible before their symptoms worsen into serious health risks.