Our immune system plays a very important role in managing our health as it helps to protect our body from harmful pathogens and environmental risks. Without a healthy immune system, our body will be more prone to infections that will lead to various sickness and diseases.
Sometimes, our immune system may go haywire due to poor health management. Some common immune system disorder may include:
- Primary immune deficiency. This occurs when we are born with a weak immune system.
- Acquired immune deficiency. This occurs when we get a disease or a condition that will weaken our immune system. AIDS is an example of an acquired immunodeficiency.
- If our immune system is too active, we will have an allergic reaction.
- Autoimmune disease. Autoimmune disease is when our immune system turns against us such as rheumatoid arthritis.
What causes a weak immune system?
If a person’s immune system is weak, it means that their body can’t fight off infections or viruses or if their body have too strong immune system. They will be at a higher risk of getting various illnesses, including life threatening conditions. There are several causes that might weaken our immune system, such as:
- Constantly consuming food that are high in saturated fat, sugar and salt, while not taking in important nutrients such as carbohydrates, protein, vitamin and minerals. These nutrients are important for our immunity.
- Being overweight and lack of physical activities. Physical activity is considered one of the main components of healthy living. Regular exercise promotes health and reduces risk of infections.
- Poor hygiene practice such as not washing your hands regularly.
- Cigarette smoke contains chemical compounds that will interfere with our immune system and put ourselves at risk of viral and bacterial infection especially of the lungs, such as pneumonia.
- Excessive consumption of alcohol will impair the function of our immune cells, disrupting how normal immune cells work.
- Stress can have an indirect effect on the immune system as a person may use unhealthy behavioral coping strategies such as drinking and smoking to reduce their stress.
- Lack of sleep may reduce our immune defense. As our body produces protein that can help to fight infection during sleep and also restore and de-stress our bodies, deprived sleep will prevent this function of repair thus impacting our immune system.
- Aging can also weaken our immune system as some of our organs that produce immune cells become less efficient as we age.
- While a weaker immune system is commonly caused by disease and malnutrition, certain medications such as cancer and chemotherapy drugs can also temporary reduce our immunity.
Signs of weak immune system
The common symptom of a person with weakened immune system is the susceptibility to infection. They are more likely to get infection and sometimes these illnesses are more severe as well. The time it takes to heal will be longer too. Pneumonia and bronchitis are some of the infections that may recur in high frequency in people with a weakened immune.
People with a weakened immune system might also be more likely to experience:
- Frequent cold episodes and may take longer to recover
- Digestive problems such as diarrhea, constipation and bloating
- Frequent skin infections such as frequent skin rashes and inflammation
- Delayed wound healing and increased the risk or re-infection
- Feeling fatigue despite taking adequate rest
- Problems with organs such as organ inflammation that might happen due to injury, toxins, pathogens or trauma
A person with a weak immune system can adapt some practical ways to boost their immune system such as eating healthily and taking immunity, cold and flu supplements. We should always take care of immune health as it serves as a barrier and protects the body from harmful germs that can cause illness.
- Shabir, D. O. (2020, February 26). Effects of tobacco on the immune system. News. Retrieved April 26, 2022, from https://www.news-medical.net/health/Effects-of-Tobacco-on-the-Immune-System.aspx
- Sarkar, D., Jung, M. K., & Wang, H. J. (2015). Alcohol and the immune system. Alcohol Research : Current Reviews. Retrieved April 28, 2022, from https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4590612/
- MediLexicon International. (n.d.). Weak immune system: Symptoms and what to do. Medical News Today. Retrieved April 28, 2022, from https://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/324930