How does the aging process affect your immune system?
As we age, our immune system gradually weakens. This can be affected by the illnesses, lifestyle and activities your body has been exposed to. Why does this happen and what can we do about it?
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Generally, we become more susceptible to illnesses with age, but how much the aging process impacts the body varies from person to person. If an older person develops a disease in an organ, it usually leads to diseases in other organs already weakened by age. Many older people also suffer from complications from diseases and immobility.
The risk of bone fractures increases in later life due to diseases such as osteoporosis and arthritis, which in turn could lead to femoral neck fractures or hip fractures. Reduced walking ability and instability could also lead to injuries if an older person accidentally falls.
Did you know that vitamin D contributes to reducing the risk of falling due to postural instability and muscular weakness? Among men and women from the age of 60, falling is a risk factor for bone fractures and this demographic is also at greater risk for falling and thus inflicting a bone fracture on themselves.
Weakened and low immune system
As previously mentioned, the immune system becomes compromised as we age, and it can be difficult to distinguish between different medical conditions. If you have a weakened immune system, it is often due to a disease. One of the most well-known causes of immunodeficiency is HIV/AIDS. Various cancers and chemotherapy treatments also play a role.
Some signs of a compromised immune system include:
- frequent bouts of illness
- becoming ill regularly with the same symptoms
- persistent infections
- being tired even with enough rest
- headaches and/or dizziness
- watery eyes and nose
- constant muscle and joint pain
A low immune system can come at a young age or when you are older, and it can be related to poor sleep and little rest, vitamin or mineral deficiency, a stressful lifestyle, excessive consumption of alcohol or tobacco – or it could be a side effect of medication or other medical treatment.
How does the aging process affect our eyesight?
As we age, our eyesight also weakens. This is known as presbyopia, a condition in which the eye has difficulty focusing clearly on close objects. This natural part of the aging process usually starts around 40-45 years of age and progressively worsens over time. The lens of the eye begins to harden around the age of 40 and the harder it gets, the more difficult it is for the eyes to focus on close objects, making it hard to read and see details close up.
It doesn’t matter if you have had perfect eyesight or not, everyone will be affected to some degree.
Exercise, sleep and prevention
Although presbyopia and low immune system affect most of us as we age, there are some preventive actions we can take to maintain normal functions for as long and as much as we can.
You don’t need to exercise a lot to improve your immune system, increase muscle strength and reduce cholesterol levels when you’re older. In fact, studies show that as little as 20 minutes of exercise a day can be enough to boost your immune system. Exercise benefits the immune system by increasing the production of macrophages, a type of cell that attacks and breaks down bacteria. At the same time, physical activity helps the lungs to get rid of bacteria.
Vitamins keep you healthy
It’s not just physical activity that can help you – vitamins and minerals can also contribute to keeping you healthy. Did you know that vitamin A is called “the vitamin of the eye” and that it also helps maintain the normal functioning of your immune system? Not only is vitamin A imperative for good night vision but also for your eye health in general. The same goes for the omega-3 fatty acid DHA, which contributes to maintaining normal visual function in adults and older people.
Vitamin D will also help the immune system to function normally, in addition to maintaining normal bone function.
Take care of your immune system
Regardless of your age, it’s important for your immune system that you:
- get enough vitamins and minerals
- lower your intake of alcohol, tobacco and unhealthy food
- reduce stress
- rest when you need to and get enough sleep
Take one teaspoon (5 ml) of Möller’s Cod Liver Oil every day to cover your daily requirement of essential vitamins such as vitamin D, A and E, and the omega-3 fatty acids DHA and EPA.