The Importance of the Human Immune System

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The human body is made up of various delicate and important processes made up of a network of valuable functions,  that maintains and keeps the  body balanced and functioning effectively.

In all,  the various roles performed by the different well spelt out processes, contribute to the working of the human body.
One of such processes, that keeps you alive is your immune system. The immune system is so vital in the existence of a man, that anything that compromises this process, can be harmful to man.

The human immune system is your body’s defiance against infection and illness. It recognizes the cells that make up your body, and will try to get rid of anything unfamiliar. It destroys germs (bacteria and viruses) and parasites.
The immune system is made up of a network of cells, tissues, and organs that work together to protect the body. One of the important cells involved are white blood cells, also called leukocytes, which come in two basic types that combine to seek out and destroy disease-causing organisms or substances.

• There are three main lines of defence  in the body :
The first line of defence (or outside defence system) includes physical and chemical barriers that are always ready and prepared to defend the body from infection. These include your skin, tears, mucus, cilia, stomach acid, urine flow, ‘friendly’ bacteria and white blood cells called neutrophils.
The first line of defense in our bodies are physical and chemical barriers – our skin, stomach acids, mucus, tears, vaginal opening, of which the last three mostly produce lysozyme to destroy harmful incoming pathogens,
Your immune system is a collection of cells and tissues that defend your body against invaders If pathogens do get through, your body activates the third line of defense, which is your specific immune system. Your specific immune system is made of white blood cells called lymphocytes: B-cells and T-cells.

Functions of the immune system
The purpose of the immune system is
• to keep infectious microorganisms, such as certain bacteria, viruses, and fungi, out of the body,
• and to destroy any infectious microorganisms that do invade the body..

There are various things we can learn about the immune system

1. It stands guard for you :
Your immune system works to root out germs and other invaders that have no business in your body. For example, if you inhale a cold virus through your nose, your immune system targets that virus and either stops it in its tracks or primes you to recover. It takes time to get over an infection, and sometimes you need medicine to help, but the process is the cornerstone of prevention and recovery.

2. More effective when you are relaxed:
Do your best to tame your stress. When you’re wound up, your immune system doesn’t work as well as it does when you’re confident and mellow about your challenges. That may make you more likely to get sick.

3. There are effectively distributed in your  body : .
Other than your nervous system, your immune system is the most complex system in your body. It is found in  tissues, cells, and organs, including:
Your tonsils
Your digestive system
Your bone marrow
Your skin
Your lymph nodes
Your spleen
Thin skin on the inside of your nose, throat, and genitals
All of these help create or store cells that work around the clock to keep your whole body healthy.

4. It is transferred from your past:
You’re born with a certain level of protection, or “immunity.” But it can get better.
Think of a baby or young child who comes down with colds, earaches, or other everyday illnesses often. Their immune system is creating a “bank” of antibodies as they are exposed to illnesses for the first time, enabling them to fight off future invaders.  Vaccines work in much the same way. They turn on your immune system by introducing your body to a tiny amount of a virus (usually a killed or weakened one). Your body makes antibodies in response that protects against threats like measles, whooping cough, flu, or meningitis. Then, when you come in contact with that virus in your everyday life, your immune system kicks in so that you don’t get sick.

5.  The efficacy changes :
Your immune system can become less effective as you get older. That can make you more likely to get sick or get infections. It can also make you more likely to get an autoimmune disease, like rheumatoid arthritis, or even some kinds of cancer.

6. You have a major role to play :
The classic things that keep your heart, brain, bones, and the rest of you well are also good for your immune system:
• Eat nutritious foods.
• Stay active.
• Work to keep your weight healthy.
• Don’t smoke.
• If you drink alcohol, keep it moderate (no more than one drink a day if you’re a woman, and two drinks daily if you’re a man).

Signs of a weakened immune system
Anything that weakens your immune system can lead to a secondary immunodeficiency disorder. … Not enough protein in your diet can weaken your immune system. Your body also produces proteins when you sleep that help your body fight infection. For this reason, lack of sleep reduces your immune defenses.

Primary immunodeficiency disorders — also called primary immune disorders or primary immunodeficiency — weaken the immune system, allowing infections and other health problems to occur more easily.
Many people with primary immunodeficiency are born missing some of the body’s immune defenses, which leaves them more susceptible to germs that can cause infections.
One of the most common signs of primary immunodeficiency is an increased susceptibility to infections. You may have infections that are more frequent, longer lasting or harder to treat than are the infections of someone with a normal immune system. You may also get infections that a person with a healthy immune system likely wouldn’t get (opportunistic infections).

Signs and symptoms differ depending on the type of primary immunodeficiency disorder, and they vary from person to person.

Signs and symptoms of primary immunodeficiency can include
• Frequent and recurrent pneumonia, bronchitis, sinus infections, ear infections, meningitis or skin infections
• Inflammation and infection of internal organs
• Blood disorders, such as low platelet counts or anemia
• Digestive problems, such as cramping, loss of appetite, nausea and diarrhea
• Delayed growth and development
• Autoimmune disorders, such as lupus, rheumatoid arthritis or type 1 diabetes

How to Prevention weakened immunity
• Because primary immune disorders are caused by genetic defects, there’s no way to prevent them. But when you or your child has a weakened immune system, you can take steps to prevent infections:
• Practice good hygiene. Wash your hands with mild soap after using the toilet and before eating.
• Take care of your teeth. Brush your teeth at least twice a day.
• Eat right. A healthy, balanced diet can help prevent infections.
• Be physically active. Staying fit is important to your overall health. Ask your doctor what activities are appropriate for you.
• Get enough sleep. Try to go to sleep and get up at the same time daily and get the same number of hours of sleep every night.
• Manage stress. Some studies suggest that stress can hamper your immune system. Keep stress in check with massage, meditation, yoga, biofeedback or hobbies. Find what works for you.
• Avoid exposure. Stay away from people with colds or other infections and avoid crowds.

 How to boost your immunity
1. Get enough sleep and manage stress. Sleep deprivation and stress overload increase the hormone cortisol, prolonged elevation of which suppresses immune function.
2. Avoid tobacco smoke. It undermines basic immune defenses and raises the risk of bronchitis and pneumonia in everyone, and middle ear infections in kids.
3. Drink less alcohol. Excessive consumption impairs the immune system and increases vulnerability to lung infections.
4. Eat plenty of vegetables, fruits, nuts, and seeds, which will provide your body with the nutrients your immune system needs. A study in older adults showed that boosting fruit and vegetable intake improved antibody response to the Pneumovax vaccine, which protects against Streptococcus pneumonia.
5. Consider probiotics. Studies indicate supplements reduce the incidence of respiratory and gastrointestinal infections.  Fermented milk products have also been shown to reduce respiratory infections in adults and kids.
6. Catch some rays. Sunlight triggers the skin’s production of vitamin D.  Low vitamin D levels correlate with a greater risk of respiratory infection. Go for the garlic. Garlic is a broad-spectrum antimicrobial agent and immune booster. Because heat deactivates a key active ingredient, add it to foods just before serving.
7. Eat medicinal mushrooms,
8. Try immune-supportive herbs. If you get recurrent infections, consider taking immune-supportive herbs.
9. Make an echinacea tincture. This is good to have on hand when respiratory viruses overwhelm your defenses.

Home remedies
There are some simple home remedies that can boost your immunity.
• Garlic – Garlic is a natural immune booster.  Garlic enhances immune functions and has antibacterial, antifungal and antiviral activities.
• Turmeric -  has antioxidants that are important for your health as well as immune system. Antioxidants neutralize free radicals and help your immune system function properly.
• Lemon – contains vitamin C, which plays an important role in boosting your immunity. Vitamin C helps the white blood cells function properly so that they can respond quickly to infections. Lemon also aids in removing toxins from the body as well as helping maintaining your body weight.
• Green Tea- Regularly drinking green tea is another simple home remedy to boost immunity. Several beneficial compounds in green tea help increase “regulatory T cells” in the body that play a key role in immune function and suppression of autoimmune disease. The antioxidants in green tea protect the body from free-radical damage, which is essential to keep the immune system running normally.
• Ginger – ginger is a good remedy to boost immunity. The warming effect of ginger on the body helps break down toxins accumulated in the body.