The effects of aging on the immune system are manifest at multiple levels that include reduced production of B and T cells in bone marrow and thymus and diminished function of mature lymphocytes in secondary lymphoid tissues. As a result, elderly individuals do not respond to immune challenge as robustly as the young.
Older people have weaker immune systems, which heighten their risks to infections, including from coronavirus.
The bad news is that as we age, our immune systems gradually deteriorate too. This “immunosenescence” starts to affect people’s health at about 60, says Janet Lord at the University of Birmingham, UK.
If you’re over age 65, here’s what you can do to strengthen your immune system and prevent the flu and its complications.
What’s happening. With age, bones tend to shrink in size and density, weakening them and making them more susceptible to fracture. You might even become a bit shorter. Muscles generally lose strength, endurance and flexibility — factors that can affect your coordination, stability and balance.
Signs of a weak immune system include frequent cold, infections, digestive problems, delayed wound healing, skin infections, fatigue, organ problem, delayed growth, a blood disorder, and autoimmune diseases. The immune system helps protect the body from harmful pathogens and other environmental risks.
Signs of a strong immune system include patients eating right, maintaining a healthy lifestyle and getting enough sleep. Health care experts in the wellness field are scrambling to keep patients well during a hard-hitting flu season and additional worries about a new coronavirus.
Blood tests. Blood tests can determine if you have normal levels of infection-fighting proteins (immunoglobulin) in your blood and measure the levels of blood cells and immune system cells. Abnormal numbers of certain cells can indicate an immune system defect.
Check out the warning signs and what you can do to give your immune system a boost.
Your immune system can also be weakened by smoking, alcohol, and poor nutrition. AIDS. HIV, which causes AIDS, is an acquired viral infection that destroys important white blood cells and weakens the immune system.
Vitamin C is one of the biggest immune system boosters of all. In fact, a lack of vitamin C can even make you more prone to getting sick. Foods rich in vitamin C include oranges, grapefruits, tangerines, strawberries, bell peppers, spinach, kale and broccoli.
How Much Sex Are They Really Having? Older adults are having more sex than you might think. Of all the sexually active older adults in the Swedish study, 25 percent reported having sex at least once a week in the group surveyed in 2000 to 2001, compared with 10 percent in the 1970s.
Quality of life increases from 50 years (CASP‐19 score 44.4) to peak at 68 years (CASP‐19 score 47.7). From there it gradually starts to decline, reaching the same level as at 50 years by 86 years.
In most cultures, people aged over 70 or 75 years are considered elderly.