According to recent studies, air pollution increases the risk of respiratory illnesses and weakens the immune systems of many older persons.
Inhaled particles collected in immune cells in lymph nodes connected to the lungs, according to the study, which was published in Nature Medicine. The cells’ resistance to respiratory infections was decreased as a result.
Older adults’ decreased immune systems have previously been associated with ageing.
Additionally, the COVID-19 epidemic brought home how vulnerable seniors are, with a death rate for those over 75 that is eighty percent higher than that of younger persons. Older folks are also disproportionately affected by the flu and other lung illnesses.
Researchers examined 84 deceased donors’ tissue, ranging in age from 11 to 93. None of them smoked.
The study’s principal investigator, Donna Farber, PhD, of Columbia University, says: “When we looked at people’s lymph nodes, we were shocked by how many of the nodes in the lung seemed black in colour, while those in the GI tract and other sections of the body were the typical beige colour.”
According to her, the blackened lymph nodes were “clogged with dust from environmental contaminants.”
These immune cells are “simply choked with particles,” claims Farber, and are unable to carry out critical functions that protect people from illnesses. Another reason to continue striving to improve air quality is that pollution undoubtedly leads to the emergence of more severe respiratory diseases in elderly individuals.