Recognizing the Signs of Heat Stroke in Seniors

Although the summer may be a joyful time for some, it can be a dangerous time for senior citizens. The Centers for Disease Control stated in a 2018 study that “over 650 people die each year from heat-related illnesses”. They conclude that the majority of that aforementioned 650 people are adults over age 65. With such a high percentile, it becomes necessary to know how to spot heat stroke should it occur. If you are a caretaker for an aging loved one, the following will explore the major signifiers of heat stroke.


One very clear signifier of heat stroke is if the individual is dealing with a throbbing headache. This can be explained by dehydration: when temperatures rise, the body needs more fluid to maintain equilibrium. This inner balance is especially harder to maintain for seniors, as physical ailments can impede proper hydration. Thus, if your loved one is suffering a throbbing headache, there could be a form of hyperthermia at play.

High Body Temperature

One of the easiest signs to spot for heat stroke is an elevated body temperature. Any temperature that is over 104 degrees is a pure giveaway of hyperthermia. If you notice your loved one feels much warmer than normal, they could be suffering from heat stroke.

Quickening Heart Rate

If you check your loved ones pulse and find it racing, their body could be fighting hyperthermia. In order to maintain a cool interior, the heart pumps blood to regulate the equilibrium. So, when a senior becomes excessively hot, their heart begins accelerating it’s pace. This acceleration is utilized in powering the body’s cool down process. Thus, always check for a quickening heart rate if you suspect the heat is negatively affecting your loved one.

Altered Mental States

A major signifier of heat illness is if an elderly individual seems to be entering into an altered mindframe. This can manifest in a myriad of ways. Your loved one could be displaying confusion, bouts of delirium, increased irritability, or slurred speech. 

It should be noted that if you are caretaking for someone with Alzheimer’s, many of these signifiers could be mistaken for regular daily cases of confusion. Thus, caretakers should be vigilant about their loved one’s surroundings. Should their loved one enter into an altered mental state, caretakers need to use critical thinking to ascertain whether the heat could be influencing said state.

If your loved one is at risk of a stroke, they may benefit from treatment with a chiropractor, like a chiropractor from Acupractic Natural Healing Center at Eastowne. Call today to make an appointment.