Because the immune system is so complex, there are many potential ways in which it can go wrong.
The types of immune disorders can fall into these three categories:
These arise when one or more parts of the immune system do not function. Immunodeficiencies can be caused in a number of ways, including age, obesity, and alcoholism. In developing countries, malnutrition is a common cause. AIDS is an example of an acquired immunodeficiency.
In some cases, immunodeficiencies can be inherited, for instance, in chronic granulomatous disease where phagocytes do not function properly.
In autoimmune conditions, the immune system mistakenly targets healthy cells, rather than foreign pathogens or faulty cells. In this scenario, they cannot distinguish self from non-self.
Autoimmune disorders are when the body mistakenly attacks healthy tissue, resulting in diseases. This is what occurs in people with autoimmune diseases such as:
- Multiple sclerosis
- Rheumatoid Arthritis
- Celiac Disease, Type 1 diabetes and Graves’ disease
With hypersensitivity, the immune system overreacts in a way that damages healthy tissue. An example is anaphylactic shock where the body responds to an allergen so strongly that it can be life-threatening.
Anaphylaxis happens when the body reacts to a foreign substance as if it were a serious threat to health. The most common triggers for these reactions are medications, foods, and insect stings. In its reaction to an allergen, the body produces large amounts of histamine — a signaling molecule that can trigger an inflammatory response. This response can lead to:
- dilation of the blood vessels
- a sudden drop in blood pressure
- loss of consciousness
In a person experiencing anaphylaxis, the airways often become narrow, making breathing difficult. In addition, the blood vessels may leak, causing edema, a type of swelling that results from the accumulation of fluid.
Signs of a weak Immune System
Most of the time, the immune system protects the body from infection. However, some people have a weak immune system that may make them prone to frequent infections. Here are some signs you might be having a weak Immune System:-
1. Susceptibility to infection.
A person with a weak immune system is likely to get infections more frequently than most other people. Infections that people with a weak immune system often get include: Pneumonia / Meningitis / Bronchitis / Skin Infections
2. You Always Have a Cold
It is perfectly normal for adults to sneeze and sniffle through two or three colds each year. Most people bounce back in seven to 10 days. During that time, it takes the immune system three to four days to develop antibodies and fight off pesky germs. But if you are constantly catching colds – or have a cold that would not run its course – that is a clear sign your immune system is struggling to keep up.
3. You feel constantly feel tired or fatigued
If you are getting enough sleep and still suffering from exhaustion, it is worth considering if your immune system is trying to tell you something. When your immune system struggles, so does your energy level. “That’s because your body is trying to conserve energy to fuel your immune system so it can fight off germs,”
4. Your Stress Level is Sky-High
According to a report by the American Psychological Association, long-term stress weakens the responses of your immune system. “That’s because stress decreases the body’s lymphocytes, the white blood cells that help fight off infection. The lower your lymphocyte levels, the more you’re at risk for viruses like the common cold,” explains Nadia Hasan, DO, a physician at Delancey Internal Medicine.
5. Your Wounds Are Slow to Heal
Your skin goes into damage control mode after you get a burn, cut or scrape. Your body works to protect the wound by sending nutrient-rich blood to the injury to help regenerate new skin. This healing process depends on healthy immune cells. But if your immune system is sluggish, your skin cannot regenerate. Instead, your wounds linger and have a hard time healing.
6. You Have Lots of Tummy Troubles
If you have frequent diarrhea, gas or constipation, it could be a sign that your immune system is compromised. Research shows that nearly 70 percent of your immune system is located in your digestive tract. The beneficial bacteria and microorganisms that live there defend your gut from infection and support the immune system. Low amounts of these helpful gut bacteria can leave you at risk to viruses, chronic inflammation and even autoimmune disorders.
7. The other symptoms of a weak immune system can include the following:
- Autoimmune disorders
- Inflammation of the internal organs
- Blood disorders or abnormalities, such as anemia
- Digestive issues, including loss of appetite, diarrhea, and abdominal cramping
- Growth and developmental delays in infants and children
Let’s look at the various ways to boost your Immune System in the next blog.