HEAT TOLERANCE OF ELDERLY PERSONS LIVING IN A SUBTROPICAL CLIMATE.
NATIONAL CENTER FOR URBAN AND INDUSTRIAL HEALTH WASHINGTON D C OCCUPATIONAL HEALTH PROGRAM
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The capacity of elderly persons to tolerate a standardized heat-work load was measured under rigidly controlled conditions on a group of 32 females, average age 69 years, and a group of 68 males, average age 72 years, who lived in the St. Petersburg area age range was 60-93 years. The standard test consisted of five minute seated rest followed by four five-minute work periods on a bicycle ergometer. Each work period was followed by a ten minute rest period while seated on the ergometer. The four work periods were at progressively increasing levels of severity with average O2 consumptions of 10, 13, 16 and 19 cckg per minute at 92F dry-bulb and 82F wet-bulb temperatures. Pulse rates, ventilation rates, O2 consumption and oral temperatures were measured during the last minute of each work period. Twelve lead EKG were taken and blood cholesterols were measured. Those with abnormal EKGs did not have higher cholesterol levels. Ability to tolerate the heat-work load was surprisingly good. Under conditions of heat and at a level of work that required an O2 consumption four times resting values pulse rates were 119 for the females and 105 for the males. The pulse rates for the females were 10-15 beats per minute lower than those observed in a group of young and middle aged women performing the same rate of work at comfort temperatures. For the males the work pulse rates were only slightly 2-6 beats per minute lower than those observed in a large group of young and middle aged coal miners. It appears that elderly persons who are free from active disease processes can tolerate a moderate heat-work load without difficulty. Author
- Anatomy and Physiology