Your immune system composes a huge network system that works together to protect your body from foreign pathogens, bacteria, viruses, fungi, and parasites, that can cause major illness, infection, or disease. The immune system is mainly made up of white blood cells, adenoids, lymph nodes, antibodies, spleen, thymus, and bone marrow which actively fight against invaders. Any abnormalities of the immune system stimulate various diseases such as allergic diseases, autoimmune disorders, and immunodeficiencies. Ask a doctor anything about medical-related questions including how to boost your immune system to prevent illnesses such as COVID-19 and other diseases that can affect your health.
Important parts of the immune system
White blood cell: White blood cell is the most essential part of the immune system that is made in the bone marrow. White blood cells respond to attack harmful bacteria and viruses and destroy them. Components of white blood cells such as granulocytes for example neutrophils, eosinophils, basophils, monocytes, and lymphocytes.
Lymph nodes: It is small glands that contain immune cells that destroy the pathogens and prevent them from spreading to other parts of the body.
Spleen: The storage for white blood cells, which guard your body against foreign toxins. It also filters your blood, removing any damaged or old red blood cells.
Thymus: Small organ behind your breast bone in your upper chest involves the maturation of a certain type of white blood cell. It learns how to recognize and remember an invader so that an attack may be mounted immediately when the invaders invade the cells.
Innate immunity and Adaptive immunity
There are two main types of immunity which are known innate immunity and adaptive immunity. Innate immunity is a first-line defense that is genetically stored inside your body since you were born which is also known as natural immunity while adaptive immunity is a third-line defense that needs to be acquired from other sources which are divided into active immunity and passive immunity.
Innate immunity begins prior to exposure to pathogens by preventing the entrance of the infectious pathogens and is immediately eliminated through two processes:
- Direct destruction
It is responsible to produce cytokines and chemokines for the sites of infection and inflammation which is important for cell recruitment and the local inflammation for the clearance of many pathogens. Cytokines are important therapeutic agents. Any dysfunction of cytokines can cause inflammation and autoimmune disease.
- 2. Phagocytosis
The complement is a network of proteins that identify the bacteria and kills them by engulfing pathogens through the process of phagocytosis. The phagocytic action of the innate immune response removes the foreign substances efficiently by coating the invading pathogen with host proteins.
Adaptive immunity is a more complex system. It carries out a special role when innate immunity is ineffective to remove infectious pathogens. Acquired immunity involves the specific recognition of molecules or antigen on invading pathogens. The recognition of antigens is by antibodies produced by B lymphocytes and by T lymphocytes. The acquired immune system has a memory, in case of reinfection and antigen is encountered, the immune response rapidly and stronger than the initial response.
What disorders affect the immune system?
Some people may have overreactive and underactive immune responses. Disturbance in the immune system can cause diseases such as allergies disease or autoimmune diseases. Allergies happen when your body overreacts to a foreign substance and triggers the immune response. Your body releases the histamine to fight against allergies. Allergic reaction symptoms such as sneezing, mild fever, facial pain, swollen face, itchiness, blocked nose, and shortness of breath may affect someone’s quality of life and cause discomfort if it is not treated. Antihistamine medications such as chlorpheniramine, loratadine, and cetirizine may temporarily relieve the symptoms such as allergic rhinitis and sinusitis. Other allergic diseases such as asthma, eczema, dermatitis, and hives.
Autoimmune disease is a situation that happens when the immune system mistakenly attacks its own healthy cells. Autoimmune diseases can range from common to rare. Examples of autoimmune diseases such as multiple sclerosis, Hashimoto’s disease, thyroid, diabetes, systemic lupus erythematosus, and rheumatoid arthritis. Underactivity of the immune system, also known as immunodeficiency. This disease can be inherited from the parents to the child. There are more than 100 types of immunodeficiency diseases such as HIV, AIDS, and certain types of cancer. Cancers such as leukemia, myeloma, and lymphoma cause the cell to grow uncontrollably and affect the immune system.
How to improve the function of the immune system?
Your immune system needs to be nurtured for it to work effectively. There are certain ways you can practice to boost the function of your immune. Lifestyle changes may help to nourish your immune system and hence avoid many diseases. Here are some tips you can do:
- Get enough sleep
- Engage in exercise regularly
- Always take care of your hygiene
- Incorporate vegetables and fruits into your diet
- Avoid alcohol and smoking
- Monitor your body weight and make sure you have a balance BMI
- Destress through therapy such as meditation, yoga, or tai-chi
- Avoid exposure to pollutants