AGING AND METABOLISM
Metabolic rate decreases with age. Elderly people who remain active, however, can easily maintain a metabolic rate (energy production) adequate for their needs as long as their general health is good. Some elderly people subject to physical or emotional disability, however, may be at risk for malnutrition. Caregivers may assess such a risk by asking how often the person eats every day; if appetite is good, fair, or poor; and how the food tastes. These simple questions may help ensure adequate nutrition.
Sensitivity to external temperature changes may decrease with age, and the regulation of body temper-ature is no longer as precise. Sweat glands are not as active, and prolonged high environmental tempera-tures are a real danger for elderly people. In August 2003, in Europe, an unusually long and severe heat wave was the cause of at least 25,000 deaths. Most of those who died were elderly.
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