You likely already know this: Stress is bad for your health. And for people of advanced age, it appears to speed up the natural aging process of the immune system, resulting in too-tired white blood cells that aren’t up to the fight. And this increases the risk of cancer, heart disease and infectious illnesses such as COVID-19, according to a study appearing in PNAS (formerly called the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences).
As the study’s authors explain, “We found that exposure to social stress was associated with T cell distributions indicative of accelerated immune aging.”
What to do
Aside from trying to limit stress in your life, the researchers suggest a nutritious diet and exercise, to help maintain healthy T cell development.