What is Disease?
A disease is a specific abnormality that has a negative impact on the structure or function of all or part of an organism. Medical illnesses having distinct indications and symptoms are commonly referred to as diseases.1
External influences, such as infections or internal dysfunctions can cause disease.1
What is Immunity?
Immunity as a quality or state: the ability to resist disease, mainly by inhibiting the formation of a pathogenic bacterium or counteracting the effects of its products.2
Active Immunity - When the immune system is exposed to a disease organism, it produces antibodies against that disease. This is known as active immunity.2
Passive Immunity - When people are given antibodies to a disease rather than developing them through their immune system, they are said to have passive immunity.2
Diseases that Affect the Immune System
Your immune system is a collection of cells, tissues, and organs that work together to keep you healthy and safe. It protects your body against infections and other hazardous germs and viruses.
So What Happens When a Disease is Specifically Affecting the Immune System?
Immune system disorders happen when your immune system doesn't function as it should. The causes of this can vary; some examples include smoking and excessive alcohol use.
Below are examples of some diseases that affect the immune system -3
Severe combined immunodeficiency (SCID) - An immune deficit that is present at birth. Important white blood cells are lacking in children that have SCID. Infections from bacteria, viruses, and fungi are a threat to these children a lot of the time.
Temporary acquired immune deficiencies - certain drugs, for example, can decrease your immune system. This can happen to patients who are taking chemotherapy or other cancer-fighting medications. It can also occur to persons who use the anti-rejection medication after receiving an organ transplant.
Infections such as the flu virus, mononucleosis (known as mono), and measles can cause the immune system to weaken temporarily. You can also damage your immune system by smoking, drinking and having a diet with poor nutrition.
AIDS - HIV is a viral infection passed on through blood that destroys critical white blood cells and impairs the immune system. HIV/AIDS patients can develop dangerous diseases that most individuals can fight off. As they take advantage of weakened immune systems, these illnesses are called "opportunistic infections."
An overactive immune system - Your immune system may react to ordinarily harmless items in the environment if you are born with specific genes. Allergens are the terms for these chemicals. The most typical symptom of an overactive immune system is an allergic reaction. Allergens include dust, mould, pollen, and foods.
Certain illnesses brought on by an overactive immune system are Asthma, Eczema & Allergic Rhinitis.
How Does our Gut Health Affect the Immune System?
Our gut is essential to keep our bodies in operating order. Our stomach absorbs nutrients that support our body's processes, from energy production to hormone balancing, skin health to mental health, and even toxin and waste elimination, as it breaks down the foods we eat.6
The gut makes up around 70% of the cells in our immune system, so we must maintain a healthy gut to support a robust immune system.6
An inflammatory response can be triggered by an imbalance of healthy and bad bacteria in our gut. Our immune system then devotes its efforts to combating the inflammation. When the immune system is focused on fighting inflammation, it lacks the energy to combat external invaders in the body, making us more vulnerable to illness.5
Probiotics may help relieve symptoms associated with poor gut health by promoting a more balanced and diverse gut microbiome by stocking the stomach with healthy bacteria.6
Please see our “Can Probiotics Help with Our Immunity” article with further information on probiotics and immunity.
We also found this study -The role of gut microbiota in immune homeostasis and autoimmunity - to support that gut health is vital in maintaining a strong immune system.
Tips for Boosting your Immune Health
Despite certain diseases and viruses affecting immune health, many lifestyle factors can also affect your immune system's health.
Below are some tips that can help to support a healthy and functioning immune system7 -
- Avoid smoking
- Reduce alcohol consumption
- Maintain a healthy diet
- Keeping up to date on recommended vaccines
- Stay hydrated
- Regular exercise
- Good quality of sleep
Overall, your immune health is paramount in a healthy functioning body. Various factors may affect the strength of your immune system. However, in certain circumstances, this can be easily improved by making positive lifestyle changes.
Due to the importance the gut plays in the role of your immune health, maintaining a healthy gut microbiome will be the first step in ensuring you have a healthy immune system.
Please see our Immune Boost probiotic daily supplement, whereby you can look into its benefits on your immune health.