Often, when people age, there is immunosenescence, which means that the immune system doesn’t function as well or as vigorously. The combination of increased comorbid conditions and the decrease in activity of the immune system can make people more prone to infections.
As you grow older, your immune system does not work as well. The following immune system changes may occur: The immune system becomes slower to respond. This increases your risk of getting sick.
Researchers say the aging process may make people over the age of 60 more vulnerable to COVID-19. Part of the reason may be because the immune system might overreact in older adults when battling the disease. Experts say this information can be used to develop more specific treatments for older adults with COVID-19.
11 Risk Factors for Infections Among the Elderly
With age, the disease burden increases. Interestingly, the same pathways that modulate longevity affect the development of multiple, age-related pathologies. Ageing as a disease risk factor can be thought of as the accrued effect of a finite number of evolutionarily conserved pathways.
Aging is associated with a reduced capability of the immune system to adequately respond to pathogens and to prevent tumor formation. As a consequence of immunosenescence, older people have a higher risk to develop infections as well as cancer.
Even though seniors are exposed to countless germs over the years, the thymus is slowly going to shrink. That unique component of the immune system is responsible for sending out healthy T cells to battle germs, and it can’t respond as quickly once it begins to shrink.
Life style risk factors such as aging, poor nutrition, infection and exposure to toxicants can also increase susceptibility to illnesses. These life style factors can therefore be considered to cause acquired susceptibility for increased risk for environmental disease.
A susceptible person is someone who is not vaccinated or otherwise immune, or a person with a weakened immune system who has a way for the germs to enter the body. For an infection to occur, germs must enter a susceptible person’s body and invade tissues, multiply, and cause a reaction.
Defects in the T lymphocyte and/or mononuclear phagocytic system result in an increased susceptibility to infection. Cell-mediated immunity plays a primary role in protecting against intracellular pathogens.
Age is a well-known traditional risk factor, generally considered nonmodifiable.
Risk factor: Something that increases a person’s chances of developing a disease. For example, cigarette smoking is a risk factor for lung cancer, and obesity is a risk factor for heart disease.
Older people are more susceptible to a variety of viral infections, including those that induce respiratory disease, resulting in higher morbidity and mortality than younger people. Aging impacts both innate and adaptive arms of the immune system to impair control of viral infections.