- Reviewed by Howard E. LeWine, MD, Chief Medical Editor, Harvard Health Publishing
The incidence of heat-related ailments has risen over the past five years, and older men are especially vulnerable, according to a study published in December 2022 by FAIR Health, a nonprofit that studies health care costs and coverage. Researchers analyzed 39 billion health claims filed for the months May to December from 2016 through 2021, looking for those that dealt with heat stress, heat exhaustion, and heatstroke.
Heat stress is characterized by heavy sweating, muscle pain or cramps, and lightheadedness. Heat exhaustion happens when excessive sweating leads to more symptoms, including headache, nausea, dizziness, weakness, and a rapid pulse. In heatstroke, the most severe ailment, the body becomes unable to cool itself. A person with heatstroke stops sweating, and body temperature rises to dangerous levels. Without emergency care, a person with heatstroke can die or suffer permanent disability.
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About the Author
Matthew Solan, Executive Editor, Harvard Men's Health Watch
About the Reviewer
Howard E. LeWine, MD, Chief Medical Editor, Harvard Health Publishing
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