One of those who are considered high-risk for the coronavirus is the elderly people. However, the study shows that the signs of the infection on the elderly may not be as obvious as the widely known signs.
Continuous cough, fever, and shortness of breath are the main symptoms of COVID-19, and a lot of people who do not have these signs may have been turned away at testing sites. However, the changes the body undergoes with age may alter the immune system of older patients, making them less likely to show these signs of infection.
Older people might simply seem more tired than usual, less hungry and they may seem more confused, disoriented, and off-balance. Doctors are warning caretakers and families to not dismiss these symptoms as a product of age, but they must immediately seek help before these elderly people enter a fast decline that can lead to death.
COVID-19 acts like other respiratory viruses. It enters the body through the nose, mouth, and eyes, and in most adults, this irritation will trigger inflammation, cough, and even fever.
As the infection travels lower into the body, it attacked the lungs and it can trigger inflammation deeper in the lungs and it can lead to shortness of breath. But some people may never become short of breath, even while their blood oxygen levels fall low. Bodies work differently at different ages, and the changes that come with age can mean that people respond in different ways.
The immune system declines with age
The body slows down and becomes altered with age. The bone marrow produces fewer of certain fighter and signaling cells, B and T cells, as people get older. Even though elderly people have as many other immune cells like lymphocytes, they become more sluggish.
When an invader is present in an elderly person, the immune system responds more slowly and less robustly. It is the immune system's response to infection that triggers cough, fever, and inflammation, so these might not be seen in an elderly person. An elderly person's body does not regulate temperature as effectively as the body of a younger person, which may lead to differences in how a fever presents.
Mental confusion and fogginess
Dementia and general mental decline are devastating and they are common among the elderly. But not all cognitive changes are as mundane as symptoms of age, nor as catastrophic as Alzheimer's disease or evens stroke. Scientists are not sure why, but numerous infections including flu and urinary tract infections can trigger confusion and delirium in elderly patients.
Some scientists speculate that it is related to cytokines, immune cells that are overwhelming bodies of coronavirus patients. These cells have considerable effects on the central immune system, which may be why elderly people with coronavirus develop cognitive issues.
Elderly people may be extremely tired and unable to cough
Mental declines and common events of older age, like stroke, can also impair the reflexes. Without fully functional reflexes, elderly people's bodies may not respond to irritation in normal ways. Coronavirus attacks on the airway might make us cough, but elderly people with weaker reflexes might be unable to do so.