BANGALORE: Older people show a change in their immune system and fall ill in response to stressful situations like the death of a loved one, says new research from the University of Birmingham.
The study, published in the journal Immunity and Ageing, shows that there are variations in the stress hormones, which are otherwise balanced, in situations of grief and as people age. As elderly people are likely to have reduced immune functions, they contract infections easily in stressful periods.
“During the difficult weeks and months after loss, we can suffer from reduced neutrophil function. Neutrophils are the most abundant type of white blood cells and as such are essential at combating infections and illness,” said Dr Anna Phillips, Reader in Behavioural Medicine at the University of Birmingham, in a release.
Participants were studied when they were grieving the loss of a loved one.