A Public Health expert, Dr Dorcas Danlami, says inflammation and infections play major roles in weakening aging and immune system.
Danlami, who said this on Monday in Abuja, said that the immune system itself was not immuned.
The term for this process is known as “immune senescence” which describes the tendency of an aging, immune system to allow infections and diseases like cancer to take hold.
According to her, the aging, can protect and enhance their immune system, as with other bodily systems, through application of training principles.
”Adopting training principles do not guarantee perfect health and do not protect the body from the inevitability of growing older. It will only enrich the aging, with the knowledge that they are doing everything to optimise their immune system, delay immune senescence and fight immune-based diseases. They can do the things that will keep their aging immune system to be strong for a long time. If you smoke, quit now. It is hard to do, but this is the single greatest, avoidable negative influence on your immune system,” she said.
Danlami said that as a person ages, the immune system has a lifetime internal clock, which is measured by the length of molecules on ones DNA, called telomeres.
She said that smoking and other bad habits could shorten the aging body’s telomeres and run out the immunologic clock before its time.
The expert said that smoking also caused lung inflammation, and used up antibodies that could fight infections elsewhere.
She said that this made one to be at risk of other illnesses such as pneumonia and flu.
Danlami said that the aging, should control their alcohol intake as alcohol could increase their risk of infections.
She said that heavy drinkers were twice likely to die from pneumonia than those who drink less.
Danlami said that heavy drinkers also made-up more than one-third of those with tuberculosis.
She said that while excessive drinking was detrimental, occasional consumption of red wine, in small amount, was compatible.
Danlami said the aging, also should not expose their skin to much sunlight.
She said that vitamin D from sunlight helped to support healthy immune function, but that much exposure to UV radiation could alter the aging DNA and boost their risk of cancer.
The expert said that it was good to limit exposure to other carcinogens as well as avoiding burning coal or cooking too much with charcoal.
She said that the aging should avoid man-made chemicals, including hydrocarbon.
Danlami said the aging, should work-out to lose those extra pounds, if they were overweigh.
She said that being overweight put the body at risk of weakened immune system, with abdominal fat triggering inflammation and boosting the risk of heart disease and diabetes.
She said as one aged, fat could build up in ones bone marrow, muscle and liver to boost harmful inflammation.
Danlami said that loosing weight could have anti-inflammatory effect.
She added that eating fresh fruits and vegetables could be a major step in developing a healthy diet, lost weight and boost the body’s antioxidant levels.