Elderly people are among the primary risky groups in COVID-19 infections. Reminding that there may be functional losses even if there is no chronic disease accompanying people over 65, Internal Diseases Specialist Prof. Dr. Yaşar Küçükardalı said that these losses in accordance with age might make the person vulnerable to diseases.

In our country, people over 65 years of age, who have experienced these difficult times in their homes due to curfew, are in the risky group in terms for COVID-19 infection. Again, risk may increase as there may be contact risk in areas such as senior centers and nursing homes, some of the areas where this age group lives together. However, Yeditepe University Kozyatağı Hospital Internal Diseases Specialist Prof. Dr. Yaşar Küçükardalı, who said that the picture is quite good in this sense in our country, stated, “Thankfully, there is no worrying news about our 36 thousand senior citizens living in senior centers and nursing homes in our country. This shows us that our elders are well-cared for in both the public and private senior centers and nursing homes. Perhaps one reason is that the vast majority of our elderly have social security and are easily admitted to hospitals under any health problem with that social security they have".


Informing us about the course of COVID-19 with the elderly, Prof. Dr. Küçükardalı pointed out that the main point at this point is the person's biological age rather than chronological age:

“Aging is actually a physiological process. As we get older, there are anatomical, functional and biological partial losses in our organs and systems. Yet, it is important to bear in mind that physiological aging does not make the person dependent on another, and old age is a relative condition. Some are 80 years old, but they are as healthy as a 50-year-old person, while others are 50 years old, and their bodies are worn like an 80-year-old person. It is important to consider the fact that chronological age is not a primary factor, and the important thing is biological age. ”



In the chronological age assessment, the limit is considered as 65. They are called “young” aged between 65-75 years old, “middle” aged between 75-85 years old and “advanced” aged over 85. According to the information given by Prof. Dr. Yaşar Küçükardalı, even if there is no chronic disease accompanying people over 65, both the functional losses occur and the immune system is weakened. Both natural immunity and acquired immunity are weakened with age. Less exposure to sun, a lack of balanced nutrition, decreased number and aging of immune cells play a role in this.



Summarizing the factors that make senior citizens much more vulnerable against COVID-19 as chronical illnesses, biological aging and the weakening of the immune system, Yeditepe University Hospital Internal Medicine Specialist Prof. Dr. Yaşar Küçükardalı continued his words as follows;

“The lymphocyte count of a 40 year old person and the lymphocyte count of an 80 year old person are not the same. Again, the natural immunity of a 40 year old individual and an 80 year old person, i.e. the body's capacity to fight a microorganism, is not the same. It is natural for functional losses to occur with age. For example, the filtering capacity of our kidneys decreases by 40 ml every year after the age of 1. Normally this rate is 120 ml per minute. However, in an 80-year-old individual, this cannot be expected to be 120 ml. Therefore, functional losses that occur with the advancement of age can make a person fragile. Because of these effects, the risk of elderly people getting diseases increases. The total of functional losses in organs and systems in the elderly shows an accelerated increase, not a mathematical one. The overall effect is much higher than expected. As an example, in a senior citizen whose blood pressure drops slightly below normal, mental fog and loss of balance can be observed, and naturally, the chance of falling over increases. Due to the osteoporosis, a broken bone is a high possibility, the healing time of the fracture increases and a longer period of being bed-ridden increases the possibility of pressure wounds. This way, the domino effect is observed. ”

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