Health Facts

Weakened Immune System

The immune system is a complex and important network of cells and organs that protects the body from infection. The immune system’s function is to protect the body and keep microorganisms like bacteria, viruses, and fungus out, as well as to destroy any dangerous microbes that get inside. We need our immune system to work in full swing to keep us healthy and optimally functioning. A weakened immune system, where the immune cells are not doing their job properly, can increase the risk of illness and infections.

Components of immune system

Our immune system consists of white blood cells and its types, antibodies, the complement system, the lymphatic system, the spleen, the thymus where some types of immune cells mature, and the bone marrow where the white blood cells grow and mature.

Causes of a weakened immune system :

Many factors can weaken our immune system, some of them include:

Chronic stress

Smoking

Alcohol

Poor nutrition

Medication like chemotherapy or other cancer treatments

Certain infections like the flu, mono, and measles

Autoimmune disorder

HIV or AIDS

Symptoms of weakened immune system:

High
stress levels

Delayed wound healing

Frequent
infections

Feeling tired
all the time

Digestive
problems

Delayed
development

Autoimmune
disorders

Diagnosis and treatment:

Your doctor will check for your personal and family health history. He/ she will also check for your response to certain vaccines, skin tests and other blood tests. Gene testing is also being used in diagnosing many immunodeficiency disorders.

The treatment depends on the specific cause of weakened immune system. The treatment may include lifestyle changes, stress management, treating existing infections and treating immune deficiency disorders.

FAQ's :

Genes affect how the immune system functions and responds to threats. Immunodeficiency disorders can be present at birth and are frequently passed down through the generations.

AResearch suggests that many immune deficiency disorders are inherited from either one or both the parents and are passed down to next generations.

Yes, people with allergies have weakened immune system. Although allergies do not cause you to catch a cold or flu, but, your allergy therapy keeps you at high risk for developing other diseases.

The treatment involves collecting stem cells (cells which can develop into many different types of cells in the body) from a patient with immunodeficiency, correcting the gene in the cells, and then returning the corrected stem cells to the patient. Because gene therapy uses the patient's own cells, there is no need to find a suitable donor. However, only a few immunodeficiencies can be treated with this therapy.

References:

  1. Genetics and Immune Disorders. University of Rochester Medical Center. https://www.urmc.rochester.edu/encyclopedia/content.aspx?ContentTypeID=134&ContentID=122#:~:text=Immune%20disorders%20and%20genes&text=Genes%20also%20affect%20the%20way,from%20one%20generation%20to%20another. Accessed on 28-03-2022.
  2. Primary immunodeficiency. Mayo Clinic. https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/primary-immunodeficiency/diagnosis-treatment/drc-20376910 . Accessed on 28-03-2022.
  3. Immune system and disorders. Medline Plus. https://medlineplus.gov/immunesystemanddisorders.html . Accessed on 28-03-2022.
  4. Allergies and the Immune System. Johns Hopkins. https://www.hopkinsmedicine.org/health/conditions-and-diseases/allergies-and-the-immune-system. Accessed on 28-03-2022.
  5. Mayo Clinic. https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/allergies/symptoms-causes/syc-20351497. Accessed on 28-03-2022.
  6. Use of Genetic Testing for Primary Immunodeficiency Patients. PubMed.gov. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/29675737/. Accessed on 28-03-2022.

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