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Turning Down The Heat To Save Money Could Cost Your Health

Armen Hareyan's picture

Home Heating Cost

With home heating costs expected to soar this winter, millions of Americans will be dialing down their heat to save money.

For most people, dialing-down just means a slightly chilly home, but for the elderly, it could bring serious health implications, including hypothermia, and could even lead to additional health risk for otherwise healthy people, says Lee A. Green, M.D., MPH, associate professor in the Department of Family Medicine at the University of Michigan Medical School.

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"There's both myth and truth to the idea that living in a colder house can cause health implications," he says. "For most healthy adults and children, it's not a problem. However, extreme temperatures can be harmful to babies, the elderly and even middle-aged adults with chronic diseases."

Health implications of dialing down the heat

It only takes a slight drop in a home's temperature to impact the health of an elderly adult. As the body ages, it produces less heat and it becomes more difficult to regulate the body's temperature.

So even a relatively mild indoor temperature