A Guide to The Immune System
Building your immune system up is essential to your ongoing wellbeing and health. There are ways that you can deal with weakened immunity and how to deal with an overactive immune system.
What is the immune system?
The immune system is not one thing; it is made up of several systems within the body that all work to fend off antigens, which are harmful substances that damage the whole body’s health. The immune system is clever and can remember antigens it has managed to defeat and so will be quicker to destroy them in the future before the antigen has time to reproduce.
Your immune system components include white blood cells, antibodies, complement system, lymphatic system, lymphocytes, the spleen, bone marrow, and thymus. As you can tell, there are many processes involved in the body to ensure this immune system is healthy. It also means there are a lot of ways that the system can become compromised.
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What can cause weak immunity?
Our immune system exists to protect us against bacteria, microorganisms, and viruses. Sometimes our white blood cells are compromised, and we become more susceptible to illness. Certain diseases can cause this compromise, include cancer, diabetes, HIV, lupus, certain medications, and treatments, such as chemotherapy.
High-stress levels can also inhibit your white blood cell production. If you are under long term stress, you might find yourself getting ill a lot. Equally, if you have digestive problems, your immune system can be compromised too. Incontinence problems can sap your body of the fuel it needs to create the cells required.
You will begin to identify your immunity is weakened if you find yourself catching a lot of colds or your wounds do not heal quickly. You may suffer more infections than feels normal, and you might feel lethargic or tired a lot.
As we get older, our immune system does reduce in its effectiveness. Your thymus and bone marrow produce fewer cells, and your lymphocytes diminish. This likely shows itself in a longer bounce back period from illness.
What is an overactive immune system?
An overactive immune system can be as tricky as one that is relatively weak. Some substances that are harmless to our body are perceived to be threats, creating a significant response in the body. We call these substances allergens, and people can have mild to severe allergic reactions, whether it is to mould, pollen, dust, fish, and nut. A severe reaction is called anaphylaxis, but it might also show itself as asthma, rhinitis, or asthma.
Boosting your immune system
Your immune system is complex. Keeping it buzzing as a system in complete harmony takes a balance of exercise, diet, sleep, hygiene, and other lifestyle choices. In other words, taking care of your general health and wellbeing will support a healthy immune system.
Exercising will help you reduce stress, improve your sleep, and maintain your weight, which are valuable ways of helping the immune system be healthy. Equally, a varied diet rich in nutrients and vitamins will help, including lots of fresh fruit and vegetables and oily fish and lean protein. You may wish to boost your Vitamin C and Vitamin B6, as well as an antioxidant.
If you are interested in learning more about the role of food with the immune system, you may wish to look into the Chinese medicine principles that use herbs to clear out pathogens and toxins from the body.
Sleep is good for us. There is no doubt it is essential for our wellbeing. High-quality sleep gives the opportunity for your immune system to release proteins called cytokines. Your body naturally produces more of this protein if you have an infection, which is why we get sleepy when we are ill – it is our body self-healing.
Finally, our lifestyle can have a significant impact on our immune system. Alcohol, for instance, can impair the function of immune cells; smoking and stress compromises it too. Therefore, replace all these unhealthy habits with more positive walks, hobbies, and meditation, giving your body the chance to do what it is designed to do.
To be kind to your immune system, you need to do all those things adults used to tell you as children. Eat well, sleep lots, exercise and avoid things that are bad for us – all contribute to our systems working efficiently. You could also get vaccinated, keeps surfaces clean, keep windows open and take vitamins to supplement your healthy diet.
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