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Why is the flu worse for people over 65?

ANSWER

When you’re over 65, your immune system isn’t as strong as it used to be. Seniors make up the bulk of the people who die or are hospitalized for flu-related problems. Age raises the chances of serious flu complications like:

A yearly flu shot is a must. If you’re older than 65, ask your doctor about the high-dose version, which offers more protection.

  • Pneumonia
  • Sepsis (bacterial infection in blood)
  • Worsening of lung and heart disease

SOURCES:

CDC: "What You Should Know and Do this Flu Season If You Are 65 Years and Older,” "Flu Symptoms & Complications,” "Depression is Not a Normal Part of Growing Older,” “Depression in the U.S. Household Population, 2009-2012,” “Depression is Not a Normal Part of Growing Older.”

Journal of Clinical Gerontology and Geriatrics : "Health consequences of obesity in the elderly.”

American Heart Association: "About Metabolic Syndrome.”

National Osteoporosis Foundation: "Bone Health Basics: Get the Facts.”

Dana Farber Cancer Institute: "Why Does Cancer Risk Increase As We Get Older?”

National Institutes of Health: "Age-Related Eye Diseases,” "Age-Related Hearing Loss.”

Wake Forest Baptist Health: "Age-Related Heart Disease.”

The American Journal of Geriatric Psychiatry : “Exergames for Subsyndromal Depression in Older Adults: A Pilot Study of a Novel Intervention.”

BioMed Central : “Does treatment of subsyndromal depression improve depression and diabetes related outcomes: protocol for a randomised controlled comparison of psycho-education, physical exercise and treatment as usual.”

Reviewed by Neha Pathak on April 24, 2018

SOURCES:

CDC: "What You Should Know and Do this Flu Season If You Are 65 Years and Older,” "Flu Symptoms & Complications,” "Depression is Not a Normal Part of Growing Older,” “Depression in the U.S. Household Population, 2009-2012,” “Depression is Not a Normal Part of Growing Older.”

Journal of Clinical Gerontology and Geriatrics : "Health consequences of obesity in the elderly.”

American Heart Association: "About Metabolic Syndrome.”

National Osteoporosis Foundation: "Bone Health Basics: Get the Facts.”

Dana Farber Cancer Institute: "Why Does Cancer Risk Increase As We Get Older?”

National Institutes of Health: "Age-Related Eye Diseases,” "Age-Related Hearing Loss.”

Wake Forest Baptist Health: "Age-Related Heart Disease.”

The American Journal of Geriatric Psychiatry : “Exergames for Subsyndromal Depression in Older Adults: A Pilot Study of a Novel Intervention.”

BioMed Central : “Does treatment of subsyndromal depression improve depression and diabetes related outcomes: protocol for a randomised controlled comparison of psycho-education, physical exercise and treatment as usual.”

Reviewed by Neha Pathak on April 24, 2018

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