Adds Topic on Anxiety Disorders in Older Adults

Anxiety caused by stressful events like moving or losing a job is a normal part of life. Anxiety disorders, on the other hand, are characterized by persistent, excessive and disabling fear and worry and get progressively worse if left untreated. It is estimated that anxiety disorders affect between 3 and 14 percent of older adults in a given year. To provide an older audience with additional information, NIHSeniorHealth, the health and wellness website for older adults from the National Institutes of Health (NIH), has added a topic about anxiety disorders.

NIH Senior Health - Anxiety Disorders

Visitors to the website can learn about the risk factors, symptoms and treatments for generalized anxiety disorder, social phobia, panic disorder, post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), obsessive compulsive disorder (OCD) and specific phobias such as fear of flying or fear of public speaking. Anxiety disorders can severely affect a person’s life, and they are often overlooked in older adults.

Information on Life after Cancer Now Available on

Older adults who have survived cancer can find out what to expect once treatment ends in Life after Cancer, the newest topic on NIHSenior Health.

Visitors to the site will learn about managing follow-up care, physical and emotional changes, and relationships with family and friends. The topic also addresses how a person’s age and health status can affect recovery and survival. This is important information for older adults who make up about 60 percent of cancer survivors and whose cancer treatments may have been complicated by other aging-related health conditions.

NIHSeniorHealth is a health and wellness Web site geared to the needs of older adults. It was developed by the National Institute on Aging (NIA) and the National Library of Medicine (NLM), both part of the National Institutes of Health.

Hypothermia: Staying Safe in Cold Weather

Frigid weather can pose special risks to older adults. The National Institute on Aging (NIA), part of the National Institutes of Health, has some advice for helping older people avoid hypothermia — when the body gets too cold — during cold weather.

Hypothermia is defined as having a core body temperature of 96 degrees Fahrenheit or lower and can occur when the outside environment gets too cold or the body’s heat production decreases. Older adults are especially vulnerable to hypothermia because their body’s response to cold can be diminished by underlying medical conditions such as diabetes and some medicines, including over-the-counter cold remedies. Hypothermia can develop in older adults after relatively short exposure to cold weather or a small drop in temperature, because they may be less active and therefore generate less body heat.

If you suspect that someone is suffering from the cold and you have a thermometer available, take his or her temperature. If it’s 96 degrees F or lower, call 911 for immediate help. If you see someone who has been exposed to the cold and has the following symptoms: slowed or slurred speech, sleepiness or confusion, shivering or stiffness in the arms and legs, poor control over body movements or slow reactions, and a weak pulse, he or she may be suffering from hypothermia.

Here are a few tips to help you prevent hypothermia:

  • Make sure your home is warm enough. Set your thermostat to at least 68 to 70 degrees F. Even mildly cool homes with temperatures from 60 to 65 degrees F can trigger hypothermia in older people.
  • To stay warm at home, wear long underwear under your clothes, along with socks and slippers. Use a blanket or afghan to keep legs and shoulders warm and wear a hat or cap indoors.
  • When venturing outside in the cold, it is important to wear a hat, scarf, and gloves or mittens to prevent loss of body heat through your head, hands and feet. A hat is particularly important because a large portion of body heat loss is through the head. Wear several layers of warm loose clothing to help trap warm air between the layers.
  • Check with your doctor to see if any prescription or over-the-counter medications you are taking may increase your risk for hypothermia.

Because heating costs are high, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services has funds to help low-income families pay their heating bills. For more information, contact the National Energy Assistance Referral (1-866-674-6327) or the Eldercare Locator (1-800-677-1116).

The NIA has free information about hypothermia. To order the fact sheet, Hypothermia: A Cold Weather Hazard, or the brochure, Stay Safe in Cold Weather, call toll free 1-800-222-2225. Hipotermia: El Peligro de las Bajas Temperaturas is also available. These and other free publications on healthy aging also can be downloaded from the NIA Web site at

The NIA leads the federal effort supporting and conducting research on aging and the medical, social and behavioral issues of older people. For more information on research and aging, go to

Source: NIH News