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Immune System

By: Oluwasola Samuel

In this article, we will discuss all you need to know about the immune system, that is; how the immune system works, types of the immune system, part of the immune system, a weak immune system, and how to boost the immune system. Kindly pull a chair, a pen, and a book as you read on.

How does the immune system work?

Memory cells are two various subtypes of white blood cells (B-lymphocytes and T-lymphocytes) that the immune system uses to keep a log of every pathogen it has ever eliminated. If the microbe enters the body again, it will be immediately recognized and destroyed before it has a chance to grow and make you sick. If you are not in good health, your immune system might be unable to defend against foreign invaders.

Additionally, the immune system may continue to attack even in the absence of an outside intruder or after an outside invader has been killed, which can cause allergic reactions and autoimmune illnesses.

What are the types of immune systems?

There are two types of immune systems: The active immune system and the Passive immune system.

1.    Active Immune system

This type of immune system is triggered to produce antibodies to tackle a particular disease organism when the body is exposed to it. The active immune system can be acquired through vaccinated immunity or natural immunity.

  • Vaccinated immunity

This is acquired through the introduction of a killed or weakened form of the disease organism through vaccination.

  • Natural immunity

This is acquired through exposure to a disease organism through infection with the actual disease. So if the body is exposed to a foreign invader(disease organism), the immune system recognizes it and produces the antibody that will fight it. Active immunity lasts long in the body.

2.    Passive immune system

With this kind of immune system, antibodies are given to a person based on the disease organism present in their body. Instead of being produced by the immune system itself, this sort of immune system is supplied.

While the immune system takes some time to create active immunity, passive immunity can be given or administered right away.

Parts of the immune system

The main parts of the immune system include Bone marrow, lymphatic system, tonsils and Adenoids, thymus, white blood cells, and spleen.

  • Bone marrow

This spongy tissue, which is located in the bone, creates various immune cells, including white blood cells, platelets that aid in blood clotting, and red blood cells that carry oxygen. Every day, the bone marrow creates billions of red blood cells.

  • Lymphatic system

This is a collection of lymph nodes, lymphatic veins, and white blood cells that are found throughout the body. They all cooperate to control the body’s fluid balance, absorb dietary fat in the intestine, kill bacteria, and deal with cancer cells.

  • Tonsils and Adenoids

The nasal tube and throat contain this immune system component. It prevents bacteria from entering the body through the nose or mouth. When a virus or bacteria enters the body through the mouth or nose, it is immediately trapped, and immune cells start producing antibodies to fight the invaders.

  • Thymus

Above the heart, in the upper part of the chest, is where you can find this white blood cell. Its main duty is to become more familiar with, identify, and remember an invader so that it can rapidly deal with the invader.

  • White blood cells

These are vital components of the lymphatic system, and the immune system depends on them. They circulate through the body’s bloodstream in search of foreign invaders (bacteria, parasites, or viruses), and when they encounter any invader, they launch an urgent and immediate attack.

  • Spleen

Red blood cells are filtered by the spleen, which also damages and eliminates any damaged old red blood cells. Additionally, it houses the white blood cells necessary to defend against outside invaders.

What is a weak immune system?

This means your immune system can no longer launch an attack on foreign invaders(bacteria, viruses, and fungi) in your body. A weak immune system means you are prone to frequent infections, and you are immunocompromised.

A weak immune system can be caused by the following:

  1. Malnutrition
  2. Health condition
  3. Lifestyle
  4. Aids
  5. Diabetes
  6. Cancer
  7. Immunosuppressive drugs
  8. Organ transplant
  9. Cancer

Additionally, your immune system can deteriorate over time due to aging. People aged 70 and older begin to experience immunodeficiency.

Signs that your immune system is weak.

People who suffer from a weak immune system encounter frequent and different signs such as:

  1. Pneumonia
  2. Body pain
  3. Inflammation of internal organ
  4. Growth and development in children
  5. Cough
  6. Fever

Ways you might be harming your immune system:

  • Smoking

More than 7,000 chemicals and chemical compounds in cigarettes affect the immune system. The CDC estimates that smoking causes almost 500,000 American deaths per year. At least one significant disease brought on by smoking affects 16 million additional Americans. Avoid smoking if you desire a healthy lifestyle.

  • Stress and Anxiety

We live in the jet age, where everything moves fast. You constantly want to be aware of both work and personal events. As a result, you might find out you are tense and stressed. Stress increases catecholamine and suppressor T cell levels, which suppress the immune system making you more susceptible to infections. It makes persons who are overweight more likely to develop diabetes mellitus.

  • Lack of Exercise

The likelihood of getting sick regularly is increased among people who rarely exercise. Obesity, heart disease, diabetes, high blood pressure, and high cholesterol levels are all risks for people who don’t exercise regularly.

  • Dehydration

Since water makes up between 50 – 70 percent of the weight of an adult human, it is vital to our health. To remain active and perform as intended, our cells and organs require water. Dehydration and lightheadedness can result from not drinking enough water. According to the U.S. National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine, the following amounts of fluid should be consumed each day:

About 15.5 cups (3.7 liters) of fluids a day for men.

About 11.5 cups (2.7 liters) of fluids a day for women.

  • Unhealthy Diet

Children that eat well grow up, stay healthy and have stronger immune systems. It lessens their vulnerability to illness. A nutritious diet helps adults avoid becoming obese and lowers their chances of developing chronic diseases.

Those with existing medical issues benefit from a healthy diet. It aids them in controlling their illness.

  • Lack of Sleep

Your immune system might be harmed by lack of sleep. Lack of sleep promotes the production of inflammatory cytokines, which raises your risk of diabetes, high blood pressure, heart attack, heart failure, and stroke.

  • Alcohol

Alcohol abuse damages the immune systems over time. A weakened immune system increases a person’s vulnerability to pneumonia, flu, and other infections. In the United States, from 2015 to 2019, excessive alcohol use caused more than 140,000 deaths and 3.6 million years of lost potential life annually, shortening the lives of those who died by an average of 26 years, according to the CDC.

How to boost your immune system?

The following are the ways you can boost your immune system:

  1. Exercise regularly
  2. Maintain a healthy lifestyle
  3. Get vaccinated
  4. Reduce stress
  5. Get enough sleep
  6. Stay hydrated always

Summary

The immune system serves as the first line of defense against external intruders (viruses, bacteria, and fungi). It investigates, finds, and attacks the outside invader. A healthy individual who engages in regular exercise consumes a nutritious diet, and abstains from smoking and binge drinking will not frequently contract illnesses.

For your immune system to combat and kill foreign invaders in your body, you must make sure you lead a healthy lifestyle.

Please contact an immunologist if you have immunodeficiency (deficiency of the immune system). An immunologist is an expert in immunodeficiency disorders.

References:

  • National institute of health(NIH)- Immune System

https://www.cancer.gov/publications/dictionaries/cancer-terms/def/immune-system

  • Institute for Quality and Efficiency in Health Care- How does the immune system work?

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK279364/

  • Centers for disease control and prevention(CDC)-Immunity type

https://www.cdc.gov/vaccines/vac-gen/immunity-types.htm

  • What’s immune system-National Library of Medicine.

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK10759/def-item/A2921/

  • Immunocompromised-National institute of health(NIH)

https://www.cancer.gov/publications/dictionaries/cancer-terms/def/immunocompromised

  • Encarnacion Montecino-Rodriguez, Beata Berent-Maoz, and Kenneth Dorshkind-Causes, consequences, and reversal of immune system aging

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3582124/

  • Centers for Disease Control and Prevention(CDC)-Smoking and overall health.

https://www.cdc.gov/tobacco/data_statistics/sgr/50th-anniversary/pdfs/fs_smoking_overall_health_508.pdf

  • Razali Salleh- Life event- Stress and illness.

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3341916/

  • Centers for disease control and prevention(CDC) -Physical inactivity

https://www.cdc.gov/chronicdisease/resources/publications/factsheets/physical-activity.htm

  • Centers for Disease Control and Prevention(CDC)-Poor nutrition

https://www.cdc.gov/chronicdisease/resources/publications/factsheets/nutrition.htm

  • Centers for Disease Control and Prevention(CDC)- Sleep and the immune system

https://www.cdc.gov/niosh/work-hour-training-for-nurses/longhours/mod2/06.html

  • Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC)-Alcohol use and your health

https://www.cdc.gov/alcohol/fact-sheets/alcohol-use.htm

Author Bio

OLUWASOLA SAMUEL

 

Oluwasola is a health content writer. In addition to this, he works as a financial sales associate (Insurance sales associate). His experience in the insurance industry has made him more aware of the careless and dismissive ways in which some people have approached health issues.

As a health advocate and educator, Oluwasola uses well-researched information to guide the audience in making wise health decisions that improve their quality of life.

Oluwasola possesses communication, research, adaptability, and originality skills. All of these help him craft great content that resonates, sweeps his audience off their feet, and communicates effectively. He also crafts content that addresses the pain points of his audience.

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