It's cold and it's snowing again.
I heard a doctor on the radio the other day say that, in the cold spell from December 2008 and February 2009, there were 36,000 more deaths than usual and I wouldn't be surprised if the lion's share went to old men.
The 'New York Times' published this article in 2008 :
Does age affect people’s ability to endure cold?
Studies have found that the body’s response to cold changes significantly over a lifetime, with older people, especially men older than about 60, less able to maintain their core temperature at a given cold exposure than young people.
A 2002 Finnish review in 'The International Journal of Sports Medicine' also noted that older people had a reduced skin sensitivity to the cold and a reduced subjective perception of how cold it is, thereby making them slower to react to protect themselves and more vulnerable to death from hypothermia.
The skin’s protective reaction of constricting surface blood vessels is slower with age, and the cold-induced rise in metabolic rate is also weakened in older people, but the mechanism is unknown.
Cold sensitivity at any age is related to general ill health, especially an abnormally low body mass index and other factors like thyroid malfunction, so older people with these problems may feel more uncomfortable in the cold.
In mapping the temperature sensitivity of the body surface over the life span, a 1998study reported in the journal Somatosensory & Motor Research found that the greatest age-related changes took place in the extremities, especially the feet, where sensitivity thresholds often become too large to measure.
Oh dear, not much cheer here.