How to Keep Children Safe from COVID-19

With the new school year started and autumn approaching, Colleen Nash, MD, MPH, Rush University Medical Center, pediatric infectious disease specialist, answers questions parents may have about keeping children safe from COVID, social distancing in the classroom Read More

5 Toxins That Weaken Your Immune System

An underappreciated aspect of immune health may be exposure to toxins. But the conversation on immunity cannot be limited to the ingestion of vegetables vs. sugar or wearing a mask vs. not wearing a mask. Read More

Reduce Stress to Build Immunity

Stress is a common issue for many of us during these unusual times. Life is full of potential stressors, from those on the home front like strained communication with family members, to those that sometimes Read More

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One of the most significant factors in fighting immunity is lifestyle. As we age, our immune response capability becomes reduced, which in turn contributes to more infections and more cancer. As life expectancy in developed countries has increased, so too has the incidence of age-related conditions.

While some people age healthily, the conclusion of many studies is that, compared with younger people, the elderly are more likely to contract infectious diseases and, even more importantly, more likely to die from them. Respiratory infections, including, influenza, the COVID-19 virus and particularly pneumonia are a leading cause of death in people over 65 worldwide. No one knows for sure why this happens, but some scientists observe that this increased risk correlates with a decrease in T cells, possibly from the thymus atrophying with age and producing fewer T cells to fight off infection. Whether this decrease in thymus function explains the drop in T cells or whether other changes play a role is not fully understood. Others are interested in whether the bone marrow becomes less efficient at producing the stem cells that give rise to the cells of the immune system.

A healthy lifestyle is a key ingredient in providing immune support.