What Can Go Wrong With Your Immune System?
Have you read horror stories about people having their limbs amputated because they have succumbed to infection from eating contaminated raw fish?
How about the cases of adenovirus? What do they have in common?
They must have had a weak, under-regulated immune system which could not cope with the infection.
Have you also noticed that some people always seem to be catching the flu almost as soon as they have recovered from the last bout of illness?
And yet others walk around in the pink of health rarely ever missing a workday?
Why?.... Because those who rarely get sick have a stronger, more balanced immune system.
The Immune System Function
A healthy immune system needs to have good communication between its cells to:
- Recognise which are foreign “enemy” bodies
- Respond to attack these foreign bodies and protect us
- Remember these antigens in case of future “attacks”.
When communication between cells is lost, it is like an army without a commander instructing them what to do, or broken traffic lights that confuse motorists on the road.
Chaos in the immune system occurs when the cells do not know what to do and when to do it.
What Can Go Wrong?
Under-active Immune System - When the immune cells do not communicate properly, this could lead to a weakened defence system.
For instance, the body’s Natural Killer (or NK cell) would not be properly activated to fight cells affected by bacteria and viruses. This leads to infection and an increase in health problems.
Over-active Immune System - Alternatively, the immune system may become overly aggressive in general, or may fail to distinguish between your own cells and foreign “enemy” cells. They can mistakenly launch an attack against the body’s own cells or tissues.
The result is called an autoimmune disease. Some forms of arthritis and diabetes are autoimmune diseases. In other cases, the immune system responds to a seemingly harmless foreign substance such as pollen.
The result is an allergy, and this kind of antigen is called an allergen.
How Does Communication Between Cells Become Damaged?
There are a number of causes for cell communication to become damaged. We call them the PITSS!
Poor Nutrition deprives our body of the nutrients it needs to build new cells to conduct cellular communication.
Infections place the burden on our immune system and over time weakens the immune response.
Toxins such as metals and chemicals, create free radicals that destroy cells in our body and bind to immune system information pathways which damage our cells’ ability to signal and communicate with each other.
Sleep Deprivation can affect your immune system. People who don't get quality sleep or enough sleep are more likely to get sick after being exposed to a virus, such as a common cold virus.
Stress causes a release of Cortisol, a hormone produced in our body that suppresses our immune system by attacking and destroying cells that are communicating with each other.
Some specific immune system disorders are found are stated on the National Institute of Allergies & Infectious Diseases website.