What Are T Cells and Why Are They a Concern in the Elderly?

T cells are related to your white blood cells. They come from your thymus, hence the name T cells, and are important to your body’s immune system.

The thymus is found between the throat and rib. As you age, the thymus begins shrinking and turning into fatty tissue. As this change happens, T cell production decreases. This is why immune system function slows when you become a senior citizen.


Caregiver in Lorton VA: T Cells and Seniors

Caregiver in Lorton VA: T Cells and Seniors


Why do T Cells Matter?

There are two key reasons why researchers feel the decline in T cell activity is very important. One is that asthma can suddenly appear in elderly men and women. Asthma attacks in the elderly come with a higher risk of fatality. In the World Allergy Organization’s May 2014 journal, they state that asthma affects as many as 12.7 % of seniors throughout the world.

When seniors develop asthma, hospitalization may become necessary until the right treatment is discovered. A weakened immune system is one of the reasons why asthma is harder for aging men and women. Medications may not help a senior as much as they do a younger child or adult. Finding triggers can take time. In senior citizens, asthma may be triggered by things like dust or pollen, but it can also be triggered by vigorous exercise, smoke from a woodstove, or smog.


An asthma attack can be dangerous for your aging parent.

Respiratory failure is possible. Even a mild asthma attack can make it hard for a senior to breathe. In fact, the Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America states a mild attack in a senior citizen is the equivalent of a severe attack in a juvenile.

Viruses are other issues in seniors whose T cells are declining. As the immune system weakens, it takes longer to battle a virus like a common cold or the seasonal flu. The flu is especially risky as seniors may find their flu progressing into pneumonia. When this happens, hospitalization is common. Recovery times take longer and help at home may become necessary during the recovery.


Make Sure Your Parent Has Support in Place

If your mom or dad has developed complications following a cold or flu or develops asthma. Make sure they have the support they need at home. Caregivers can make sure your parent eats and drinks enough. A home care professional can take care of laundry, light housework, and errands. Learn more about the services offered by caregivers. Call a home care agency to find out more.


If you or an aging loved one is considering a Caregiver in Lorton, VA, contact the caring staff at Access Home Care Inc. Proudly Serving Northern Virginia and Surroundings for over 12 years. Call Us: (703) 765-9350





Anna Mensah-Nti, RN, BSN, Founder
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