For the aging population diseases are a concern as they take longer to recover from them and most of the times then recovery is incomplete leading to serious consequences. The chances of suffering from an infectious disease (such as pneumonia, influenza), cancer, diabetes increases. The main link between these diseases is loss of immunity. Our immune system protects us from the harm of harmful bacteria or foreign substances. Our immune system produces antibodies that fight against the harmful substances.
As we grow older, our immune system changes and does not work as well because:
- It takes longer to respond: This increases risk of getting sick. Flu shots or other vaccines may not work as well or protect you for as long as expected.
- Autoimmune disorder may get developed: This is a disease in which the immune system mistakenly attacks and destroys healthy body tissues.
- Healing becomes slower:the numbers of immune cells that help the body to heal are fewer.
- The ability of the immune system's to detect and correct cell defects also declines: This can result in an increase in the risk of cancer.
To decrease the risks related to aging and the immune system one must:
- Get the flu and pneumonia vaccines and any other vaccines recommended by your health care provider regularly.
- Do plenty of exercise. Exercise helps boost our immune system.
- Eat health foods. A balanced diet keeps our immune system strong.
- Smoking weakens our immune system. Quit smoking.
- Limit the intake of alcohol. Ask your doctor how much alcohol is safe for you.
- Take safety measures to prevent falls and injuries. A weak immune system can slow healing from falls and injuries.