According to research from the National Institute of Health and Medical Research in Paris (INSERM), although winter temperatures increase the blood pressure of the entire population, in the case of people in old age there is a greater susceptibility to said reaction.
The specialists collected seasonal data of 8 thousand 800 over 65 years for two years, and found that with age there are changes in the mechanisms that regulate blood pressure, which makes them even more sensitive to oscillations. In the elderly, "baroflex, one of the mechanisms that regulates blood pressure, undergoes changes, and different hypotheses indicate that this disorder increases the sensitivity of blood vessels," the authors say. The cold affects more intensely the pressure of those over 80 , when temperatures are very low, it is recommended to increase the medical surveillance of hypertensive patients.
Mechanisms uncontrolled by the cold
When the organism is exposed to cold temperatures or to a cold and humid environment for prolonged periods, the control mechanisms may stop maintaining the normal temperature. Cold weather can cause Severe damage in the tissues and, even, death. If proper precautions are not taken, anyone can suffer from hypothermia or freezing of members ; this usually happens every year in those regions of the country that are most affected by the arrival of ice and snow.
The key sign of hypothermia is that the internal temperature of the body go below 35 ° . Signs and symptoms, which usually develop slowly, include tremors, speech impairment, abnormally slow breathing, pale cold skin, loss of coordination and fatigue, lethargy or apathy .
A person with hypothermia usually experiences a gradual and progressive loss of mental acuity and physical ability so they may consider that they do not need emergency medical treatment. Wet or damp clothing increases the chances of hypothermia, like slipping or falling in cold water. Other possible causes are lack of shelter in the head or insufficient protection during the winter.
Dress tips for the elderly
The outer garments must be of compact fabric, waterproof and with hood; It is essential to wear hats and hats during the winter since more than half of the heat loss occurs from the head. It is also important to cover your mouth (with a scarf) to protect the lungs from excessive cold ; The mittens, fitted on the wrist, are better than gloves to protect the hands.
Useful recommendations if an elderly person has hypothermia
First aid experts say that in a case of hypothermia, you should not apply direct heat , nor use hot water, electric blankets or infrared lamps to warm the victim. Instead, you should apply warm compresses on the neck, chest and groin. Watch out! Do not try to warm your arms and legs , since the heat applied in these areas brings cold blood back to the heart, lungs and brain making the basal temperature go down even more. This can be fatal.
Of course, you should not provide alcohol to the person with hypothermia; In any case, offer hot drinks. It is also not advisable to massage or rub the victim. It is very important to carefully handle the person with hypothermia because they are at risk of cardiac arrest.