When germs such as bacteria or viruses invade your body, they attack and multiply. This is called an infection. The infection causes a disease that makes you sick. Your immune system protects you from the disease by fighting off germs.
Your immune system defends your body against substances it sees as harmful or foreign. These substances are called antigens. They may be germs such as bacteria and viruses. They might be chemicals or toxins. They could also be cells that are damaged from things like cancer or sunburn.
When your immune system recognizes an antigen, it attacks it. This is called an immune response. Part of this response is to make antibodies. Antibodies are proteins that work to attack, weaken, and destroy antigens. Your body also makes other cells fight the antigen.
Abnormalities of the immune system can lead to allergic diseases, immunodeficiencies, and autoimmune disorders.
What are the common disorders of the immune system?
It is common for people to have an over-or underactive immune system. Overactivity of the immune system can take many forms, including:
- Allergic diseases - where the immune system makes an overly strong response to allergens. Allergic diseases are very common. They include allergies to foods, medications or stinging insects, anaphylaxis (life-threatening allergy), hay fever (allergic rhinitis), sinus disease, asthma, hives (urticaria), dermatitis, and eczema
- Autoimmune diseases - where the immune system mounts a response against normal components of the body. Autoimmune diseases range from common to rare. They include multiple sclerosis, autoimmune thyroid disease, type 1 diabetes, systemic lupus erythematosus, rheumatoid arthritis, and systemic vasculitis.
What are the signs of a weak immune system?
The body’s immune system works around the clock to keep your body protected from invading organisms and other environmental forces. It is your constant guardian to protect your body from various infectious diseases and debilitating diseases and also reduces the risk of death. Therefore, it’s important for your survival.
However, when the immune system is weak, it cannot work effectively to protect the body from serious illnesses. There are some common signs of a weakened immune system.
- Frequent cold and infections
- Autoimmune diseases
- Delayed growth and development
- Skin rashes
- Organ inflammation and related issues
- Digestive system problems
- High-stress levels
- Slow healing of wounds
- Constant fatigue
How can we improve our immune system?
If you want to boost your immune health, you may wonder how to help your body fight off illnesses. While bolstering your immunity is easier said than done, several dietary and lifestyle changes may strengthen your body’s natural defenses and help you fight harmful pathogens or disease-causing organisms. Here are several ways to boost our immune system:
- Exercise regularly
- Get enough sleep
- Minimize stress
- Stay hydrated
- Maintain a healthy body weight
- Quit smoking
- Supplement wisely