We are surrounded by a huge number of different bacteria, viruses and fungi. Many of these microscopic organisms, also known as microorganisms or microbes, have a bad reputation for destroying our health. But some of them may be crucial for the human body. Do you know that the human gut contains around one thousand different species of bacteria? And they are truly good for us. These 'good bacteria' help us digest food and keep our gut healthy. However, there are a lot of microorganisms that cause various diseases, some of which can be even fatal for people. And the main role of the immune system is to protect our body from infectious microorganisms.
What is immune system?
The immune system is the body's natural defense system against infections. It consists of a large number of organs, white blood cells, proteins (antibodies) and chemicals. A well-working immune system always responds to bacteria and viruses, trying to fight them off. However, sometimes the immune system stops working properly, and as a result, a person gets ill.
The immune system is made up of two types of defense which work closely together. The innate immune system is the first line of defense against foreign microorgnisms entering the body, as it provides immediate protection. It should be also mentioned that we are born with this type of defense. The second line of defense against foreign invaders is called an adaptive immune system. Adaptive immune cells are activated by the innate immune system. After recognizing pathogens, antibodies are produced to fight the disease.
What are the symptoms of immune system failure?
When the immune system doesn't work the way it should, an immune system disorder occurs. A large number of illnesses, like rheumatoid arthritis, multiple sclerosis or lupus, are caused by immune system disorders. Suffering from frequent infections can mean that a person has a weak immune system. People with immune system failure may also experience:
• frequent exacerbations of chronic infectious diseases (sinusitis, bronchitis, pyelonephritis, etc.)
• recurrences of herpes
• slow wound healing
• swollen lymph nodes
• pustular skin lesions
• joint and muscle pain
• malignant neoplasms
• chronic fatigue syndrome
How to strengthen your immune system
So, how can we help our immune system? There are several recommendations to keep your immune system strong and healthy:
1. Do not neglect your health check-ups and immunization schedules.
2. Eat healthy. You should eat plenty of vegetables, fruits, and grains, while limiting saturated fat, added sugar and salt.
3. Get enough sleep. Most people need 7-9 hours of sleep.
4. Rest and relax. Stress and anxiety can weaken the immune system and makes you more vulnerable to health disorders.
5. Keep yourself fit. Regular exercising is a good way to stay in shape. Good circulation allows the cells of the immune system to reach all corners of our body and fulfill their protective function.
6. Spend more time outdoors. Greenspace exposure reduces the risk of type II diabetes, cardiovascular disease, premature death, preterm birth, stress, and high blood pressure.
7. Quit bad habits. Smoking and drinking alcohol damage your body.
The immune system is not yet fully understood, so we must be very scrupulous about how to maintain it. If you think that your immune system has some problems, do not postpone a visit to the doctor.