In the case of the elderly with weakened immune function, the fatality rate of COVID-19 is bound to be much higher than that of the young. Vaccination rates among the elderly are increasing, but tensions cannot be relieved until herd immunity develops.
As the daily number of confirmed cases of Corona surpassed 2,000, anxiety is deepening. 78% of the confirmed cases are in their 20s and 60s, and in Korea, the fatality rate is not high compared to other countries. However, from the perspective of the elderly in Korea who have already entered an aging society, it is necessary to carefully observe whether the fatality rate is relatively low and can be reassured.
Currently, the fatality rate of people aged 70 to 79 who are infected with COVID-19 is reported to be 5.18%. The fatality rate for those over 80 years old is reported as high as 17.51%, so it is clear that a red flag has been turned on for the health of the elderly in Korea exposed to Corona. So, why are the elderly more vulnerable to coronavirus?
Corona 19 is more dangerous for the elderly… Beware of ‘senescence syndrome’, which reduces weight and energy and increases fatigue
In oriental medicine, as the elderly age, the ‘regular energy (functional state)’ of the ‘five organs’ (generally refers to all organs of the human body) declines, resulting in a decrease in various physiological functions related thereto. It is believed that various symptoms occur due to the depletion of ‘people’s vitality)’. This condition is very similar to ‘frailty’, which is recently mentioned in geriatric medicine.
It has been reported that senescence syndrome can be diagnosed when three or more of weight loss, fatigue, decrease in energy, decrease in walking speed, and decrease in physical activity in the elderly over 65 years of age are met. In addition, decreased appetite and decreased food intake There is also an opinion that a decrease in muscle mass should be included in the symptoms for judging senility.
Checklist for the elderly according to the corona era
It is known that, as we get older, not only the symptoms of senescence syndrome, but also the process of natural decline of the immune system. Innate immune functions such as white blood cells, macrophages, and NK cells, as well as acquired immune functions such as T cells and B cells, will gradually decline. As a result, as the elderly become more vulnerable to inflammation in the body, resistance to external pathogens and viruses decreases, which can lead to infections, cancer, chronic inflammatory diseases, and autoimmune diseases.
Changes in the body of the elderly, particularly the weakened immunity of the elderly, are undoubtedly an important fact in explaining the elderly’s vulnerability to corona infection and fatality rate. In Korea, too, before reaching the level of herd immunity by vaccinating safely, the elderly need to check the following to prepare for corona infection and lead a healthy life.
△ It is important to actively manage existing diseases (high blood pressure, diabetes, etc.) and △ maintain a normal diet. △ Maintain a certain level of physical activity, such as walking for at least 1 hour a day, and △ check your sleep and urine status. △ If you have weight loss, loss of appetite, low energy, frequent colds, etc., you should visit a medical institution.
Diet and exercise are basic, and herbal medicines such as astragalus, ginseng, and angelicae that boost immunity help
The elderly are gradually depleted of ‘spirit’ and their functions are easily weakened if they are not managed physically and mentally. A condition in which various autonomic nervous system symptoms such as stuffiness, muscle pain, and digestive disorders appear)’ is more likely to occur. If your physical strength is not good or your digestive function is weak, ‘bigiheo (脾气虛, a state in which the body loses energy and digestive power is reduced)’ is easy to appear. In this case, you may be more vulnerable to viral diseases such as Corona.
In order not to cause this condition, it is basic to pay attention to regular meals and sleep, to manage one’s own disease well, and to maintain muscle strength by doing regular exercise in parallel. Here, if you use herbal medicines that have the effect of maintaining energy and regulating immunity, you can manage them more easily.
Professor Jae-Woo Park, Department of Oriental Medicine, Gangdong Kyunghee University Hospital, said, “Oriental medicines such as Astragalus, ginseng, Angelica, and Goji berries contain various alkaloids and polysaccharides, which can enhance the weakened immunity and normalize the unnecessarily exaggerated immune response.” Many herbal medicines have recently been reported to have such immunomodulatory effects.”
However, if you have a high fever, you need to be careful when taking herbal medicines such as ginseng and red ginseng. Professor Jae-Woo Park said, “I hope that the elderly can take one step closer to a healthy life by controlling the immunity of the elderly in the Corona era.”