Immune System of Human Body – Types, Symptoms, Strengthen
What is the immune system?
Every living organism in the entire biosphere is intertwined by a complex bioprocess network.
Bio-evolution led to the creation of a protective measure (that shields the body from the damaging attacks of external bacteria and viruses) in the body of each of these organisms. Similarly, the human body also created a protective shield for itself through the years, which we call the immune system of the body.
Not only from the diseases; this system also helped the body to adapt with the external complex environment. Various harmful viruses, bacteria and parasites that are free-ringed in the environment enter into our internal system through the respiratory canal. The main function of this immune system is to protect the body by fighting with such viruses and bacterial diseases.
The following article will discuss the factors affecting the immune system, the physical problems that may arise due to the failure of this protective system as well as the remedies to strengthen the process.
Types of Immune system in Human body:
The human body mainly carries two types of immune system – 1) Innate immunity and 2) Acquired immunity.
Innate immunity is the body’s primary and foremost defense system that acts immediately and destroys germs, bacteria that try to enter our body through air, skin contact and food. Innate immunity includes –
- Skin – which provides primary protection to the internal organs of the body from germs, bacteria and other harmful substances of the external environment.
- Mucus – which binds germs, bacteria, dust mites, etc. and expels them from the body in a hepatic or some other form.
- Stomach acid – which mixes with the food and destroys bacteria and viruses that enter the body.
- Enzymes in sweat and watery eyes – which creates antibacterial compounds to fight against harmful bacteria and viruses.
- Immune cells – which attack every foreign body cell that enters the body and protect the whole internal system.
Acquired immunity is a system that learns to recognize germs and viruses. This system controls the cells and organs of our body such as spleen, thymus, bone marrow and lymph nodes. When a foreign substance enters the body, these organs and cells produce antibodies and increase the number of immune cells that attack and destroy foreign substances, including white blood cells. This system retains the foreign matter once encountered and prevents it the second time with greater efficiency and speed.
Factors affecting the immune system:
Some of the activities that you include in our daily routine affect the body’s immune system. They are mentioned below-
As we get older, our internal organs become weaker. The organs that control the immune system are also unable to produce enough immune cells. As we age, our bodies become deficient in micronutrients, which can significantly affect the immune system.
2) Polluted environment:
Air pollutants not only affect our body’s immune system, but can also impair the function of immune cells.
3) Excessive weight:
Obesity is associated with low-grade chronic inflammation. Fat cells produce adipocytokines which increase the inflammatory process. Studies on obesity have shown that it can lead to T-cells (a type of white blood cell) breakdown and an increased risk of contracting the influenza virus.
Malnutrition is a major cause of immune cell and antibody failure.
5) Chronic Illness:
Autoimmune and immunodeficiency disorders attack and possibly inactivate immune cells.
6) Long-term stress:
Stress causes the release of cortisol hormone in the body, which impairs the inflammatory and white blood cell function required in the early stages of the immune system’s activation.
7) Lack of Sleep:
During the night, our body rejuvenates itself and its organs. During this time a type of cytokine compound is released which helps prevent infection. Therefore, lack of adequate sleep can reduce the amount of cytokine in the body and interfere with the function of immune cells.
Some individuals carry a weak immune system by birth. This is called Primary Immune Deficiency.
9) Excessive activity:
In some people, the body’s immune system is more active than it needs to be. In this case, this protective mechanism can confuse the normal bodily process with some symptoms. Some of the most common of these symptoms are- Allergies, Asthma, Eczema, Hay Fever, etc.
10. Influence of drugs:
Sometimes a medicine used to treat a serious illness can cause the immune system to weaken for a while. For example, chemotherapy or other over-the-counter drugs used to treat cancer, drugs taken to prevent side effects of organ transplants, etc.
11) Drinking, smoking:
Excessive alcohol and smoking can also interfere with the immune system’s ability to function properly.
Symptoms of Immune System Disorder:
There are three main types of disorders in the immune system-
- Not working properly and properly,
- Highly active and
- Autoimmune conditions.
If the immune system does not function properly, the following conditions may occur:
1) Digeorge Syndrome:
It is a type of severe combined immunodeficiency (SCID-Severe Combined Immune Deficiency) which occurs as a result of the maturation of inappropriate T-cells in the body.
2. Risk of Infections:
X-linked agammaglobulinemia is a type of inherited immune system disorder that weakens the body’s ability to fight against infection. People with these symptoms may suffer from infections of the inner part of the ear, the sinus glands, the respiratory tract, the arteries and the internal organs.
3) Atypical hemolytic uremic syndrome:
This symptom may occur due to a defect in some of the proteins (supplements) associated with immunity. This symptom causes excessive swelling in the body. This swelling sometimes occurs near the respiratory tract which can cause breathing problems.
4) Kostmann’s Syndrome:
It is a type of disease that causes a drastic decrease in the amount of white blood cells in the blood.
5) Periodic Fever Syndrome:
As a result, the process of controlling inflammation and swelling doesn’t properly functions in the body. This can lead to joint ache and swelling.
It is an infectious disease that is mainly associated with a chronic state of the immune system. The HIV virus attacks a special type of T-cell (CD4 + T) that plays a special role in the immune system, causing the protective process to malfunction.
People who carry overly active in the immune system can suffer from physical conditions such as allergies, asthma, eczema, etc.
Autoimmune conditions can lead to rheumatoid arthritis, type 1 diabetes, lupus and other diseases. In addition, our body may show other symptoms, like –
- Hands are often cold
- Suffers from diarrhea and constipation
- Dry eyes
- Excessive tiredness
- Symptoms of mild fever are observed
- Reddish, itchy skin
- Joint ache
- Excessive hair loss
- Frequent infections
- Sensitivity to sunlight
- Frequent tingling sensation and numbness in both hands and feet
- Difficulty in swallowing food
- Uncontrolled weight loss or gain
- White patches on skin
- Yellowing of skin and eyes.
Ways to Strengthen the Immune System:
1) Take adequate amount of sleep:
There is an inextricable link between sleep and the immune system. Lack of adequate sleep can make the body sick. During sleep, our protective functions can fight better against diseases and the body does not need much time to recover. Thus taking an adequate amount of sleep naturally strengthens the body’s immunity.
2) Add more green veggies and fruits in your diet:
Fruits and green leafy vegetables are rich in nutrients and antioxidants that help fight harmful bacteria and viruses. Antioxidants help reduce inflammation by reducing the amount of free radicals in the body. Foods derived from vegetables contain a lot of fiber which helps in the immune system by increasing the amount of beneficial bacteria in the gut.
3) Eat a healthy fat diet:
Healthy fats like olive oil, salmon, whole grains or celery are found beneficial in activating the immune system against harmful bacteria and viruses. These carry anti-inflammatory properties which help to prevent various diseases caused by bacteria and viruses.
4) Eat more fermented foods or probiotic supplements:
Dietary supplements contain healthy bacteria called probiotics which have a positive effect on the digestive system. Studies have shown that when the amount of good bacteria in the gut increases, the immune system can easily differentiate between healthy cells and infected cells in the body and thus can work better to prevent diseases. Probiotics are found in curd, pickled cabbage etc.
5) Eat less sugary foods:
Consumption of excessive sugar in the form of many sweets and other dishes often results in obesity. And on the other hand, low sugar intake can prevent diseases that weaken the immune system.
6) Do physical activities:
Doing physical activity or exercise daily increases the effectiveness of the immune system.
7) Drink enough water:
Although drinking water does not directly affect the immune system, it does help keep the whole body functioning properly, thereby reducing the problems that the immune system may face.
8) Relieve stress:
Long-term stress can disrupt the immune system. Meditation, yoga, exercise and any activity that makes the mind feel better can help relieve stress.
9) Supplements can be taken:
A variety of nutrients and vitamin supplements contains health beneficiary properties. Such supplements not only provide the body with essential nutrients but also facilitate the functioning of the immune system.
This article introduces you to how the immune system works in the human body. We hope the information carried by the article may help you in different health issues. Thank You!