Why a strong immune system is key to successful aging
It is not about living a very long life, but it is about living a healthy one and aging gracefully. In some Asian cultures, we wish that we live a very long life, but is it not more beneficial to wish for a healthy one where you have the physical and mental health to enjoy it? That is why a strong immune system for seniors is the key to successful aging.1
What is actually happening to your immune system as you age?
There is no specific thing that you can pinpoint that causes the degradation of immunity, but is a collective of reasons. Feeling that you take longer to recover from an illness or muscles hurt from just doing simple tasks, it happens for every senior at a different rate. The T-Cells, responsible for attacking other illness-causing cells, are produced at a lower rate when you age. It still works pretty well at defending illnesses that you have already experienced, but the new ones are the real problems. Also as every other part of your bodily function slows down, your body also produces less White Blood Cells. Because of that your healing is affected. The antibodies become less able to attach so illnesses like pneumonia, influenza, infective endocarditis, and tetanus are more common among seniors. This also has an effect where vaccines become less effective so if a senior wants to improve their immunity, they may need to get booster shots.2
For successful aging Seniors must be on top of their health
Part of successful aging is keeping your regular ailments in check. If you are overweight, look to getting back to a healthy weight appropriate for your age and body type because excess fat in the stomach area causes inflammation, which leads to tissue breakdown and impairment of the immune system. Not only keeping your weight in check will help your overall healthy on the good side, the process of eating more fresh fruits and vegetables can boost your body’s antioxidant levels.3
A key to successful aging is cutting out your vices
Do you have a smoking habit or enjoy a night out often as much as you did in your youth with plenty of libations? It is suggested that you quit as soon as possible because they both have a negative influence on your immunity. Smoking destroys antioxidants in your blood and increases lung inflammation which makes the antibodies in your blood concentrate on fixing that instead of fighting off other harmful things in the body. And ontop of smoking, drinking in large amounts, it does not have to be chronic, also destroys immune cells and healthy bacteria in the gut. This can affect the quality of life of a senior because the gut is responsible for the majority of the immune system as a whole. With an already slower immunal response, there is no need for further impairment of it.3, 4