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Impfungen für eine alternde Bevölkerung

SEATTLE – Die Weltbevölkerung wächst und wird auch immer älter. Da die Alten ihre jüngeren Pendants zahlenmäßig bald überholt haben werden –  im Jahr 2050 wird es beinahe drei Mal so viele Personen im Alter von 65 und darüber geben als Kinder unter 4 – befürchtet man vielerorts, dass die Belastung für Staatshaushalte, Gesundheitssysteme und Volkswirtschaften untragbar werden wird. Doch wir können etwas unternehmen, um diese Last zu verringern: nämlich die Gesundheit der älteren Menschen verbessern.

Mit zunehmenden Alter unterliegt unser Körper komplexen Veränderungen, die unsere Fähigkeit, auf Infektionen zu reagieren und Immunität zu entwickeln, fortschreitend schwächen (dieser Vorgang wird als Immunoseneszenz bezeichnet). Aus diesem Grund verlaufen Krankheiten bei älteren Erwachsenen tendenziell schwerer als bei jüngeren Patienten, wobei sich auch stärkere Auswirkungen auf Lebensqualität, Behinderungen und Mortalität ergeben.

Einfach ausgedrückt: das Immunsystem älterer Menschen braucht Unterstützung. Und an dieser Stelle kommen Impfungen ins Spiel.

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