Do you get sick more often than when you were younger? When you do, does it take you longer to get better? That’s because your immune system --your body’s defense against germs -- tends to get weaker with age.
Experts aren’t sure why it happens. But scientists know older adults tend to make less of the white blood cells that attack new germs, and the ones they do make don’t work as well. This slows down the production of antibodies -- immune proteins that help you kill specific germs.
On the flip side, body-wide inflammation tends to go up with age. That’s when immune cells collect and float around in your cells. After a while, this takes a toll on your tissue and organs. Scientists call that “inflamm-aging.”
The result: You have a harder time fighting infections -- like cold and flu. You might not respond as well to vaccines, either. This is especially true if you’re over 65.
You can’t slow down time, but you can support your immune system along the way.