Immunity is the main defense of the body against the action of harmful environmental factors. First of all, it prevents the development of infectious diseases when pathogenic pathogens enter. Reduced immunity leads to the development of numerous diseases. Why is immunity reduced and how to improve it?
Little about immunity
Immunity is a whole system responsible for maintaining the health of the body. There are several classifications of immunity:
By the acquisition mechanism:
According to the method of obtaining:
According to the basic immune unit:
Innate immunity is also called nonspecific. He has all the representatives of mankind and everyone has the same. These are the cells and mechanisms that react in the same way to any pathogen, regardless of its antigenic properties. An antigen is an alien genetic information, thanks to which cells distinguish "their" from "alien".
At the first contact with an unknown antigen, non-specific immunity is activated. The pathogen is destroyed, and the immune system records information about it and stores it for some time, sometimes for the whole life. With repeated contact, the pathogen already has a specific immunity.
Acquired or specific immunity is antibodies. They are produced by plasma cells under the action of T-lymphocytes, which store information about the antigen. The antibody exactly corresponds to one antigen and is able to destroy only it.
Active is called immunity, which is acquired independently due to the contact of the body with the antigen. Passive - this is the immunity that was obtained from the outside, that is, when antibodies enter the body with serum, and are not produced in it.
Natural immunity is an active immunity after a disease, innate immunity, and also transmitted from mother to child. Artificially referred to as active immunity, obtained by vaccination and passive, obtained by serum.
Cellular immunity is represented by special cells. These include: T and B-lymphocytes, natural killer cells, neutrophils, macrophages, basophils and eosinophils. All of them, except B-lymphocytes, are involved in a nonspecific immune response. B-lymphocytes are transformed under the influence of T-lymphocytes into plasma cells and produce antibodies. The latter are part of humoral immunity. In addition, it includes various BAS: interferon, C-reactive protein and others.
In addition, there are barrier mechanisms that protect us from ingestion of foreign substances. These include: skin, mucous membranes, the mucocellular apparatus of the respiratory tract, the acidic environment of the stomach.
Abnormal immunity is called immunodeficiency. Its increased activity is also dangerous, it can lead to autoimmune reactions. This is a condition where the immune response is aimed at destroying the body's own cells.
Why immunity decreases
It is necessary to distinguish the usual decrease in immunity, for example, seasonal from pathological. Immunodeficiency occurs when the immune response is almost absent. More often, it doesn’t go that far, and it’s just a bit lowered. Why is this happening?
There are the following main causes of reduced immunity:
- Unbalanced nutrition;
- Bad habits: substance abuse, drug addiction, alcoholism;
- Excessive physical activity;
- Lack of exercise;
- Rare and short walks in the fresh air;
- Radiation exposure;
- Treatment with cytostatics and steroid anti-inflammatory drugs;
- Allergic reactions that deplete the immune system.
All these factors somehow lead to changes in the body that cause a decrease in immunity. In addition, there are a number of diseases or pathological conditions that are manifested by immunodeficiency. These include:
- Acute leukemia;
- Toxic damage to the bone marrow;
- Liver disease with an outcome in cirrhosis;
- Malignant tumors;
- Human immunodeficiency virus disease;
- Diseases of the digestive tract with maldigestia syndrome (not digestion of food);
- Extensive injuries;
- Chronic diseases of the internal organs;
- Parasitic invasions;
- Heavy operations;
- Congenital abnormalities of the immune system;
- Proteinuria, loss of protein in the urine.
When persistent symptoms of reduced immunity appear, it is necessary first of all to exclude the above conditions. In the absence of specific treatment, they can cause life-threatening immunodeficiency.
Symptoms of reduced immunity
Everyone knows that with this pathology a person begins to get sick more often. But what does “more often” mean, what is the “norm” of diseases for an adult? In addition, it turns out that a respiratory infection is not the only manifestation of reduced immunity. Signs of this pathological condition are:
- Catarrhal diseases that occur more than 3-4 times a year.
- The long duration of a cold (normal ORVI is normal in a week, maximum 10 days).
- Fungal lesion of the skin and nails.
- Candida (fungi of the genus Candida exist on the mucous membranes of a person constantly, but the disease occurs only with a decrease in immunity).
- Any form of tuberculosis (our body often encounters a Koch bacillus, but the immune system is able to suppress it).
- Long healing of even minor wounds.
- Frequent pustular skin diseases.
- Opportunistic infections (pneumocystic pneumonia, Kaposi's sarcoma - reliable signs of immunodeficiency).
- The manifestation of herpes infection (herpes simplex virus is contained in the body for a long time and makes itself felt with a decrease in immunity).
- The appearance of ulcers in the mouth.
- Chronic purulent sinusitis.
What to do if immunity is lowered
First you need to consult a physician or immunologist. He will conduct all the necessary research to establish the cause of this condition. In addition, the doctor will prescribe a treatment to enhance immunity or eliminate the causes of its decline.
It is possible to increase immunity with the help of drugs or traditional methods.
What medicinal substances can improve immunity
Immediately say that assigning them to yourself is dangerous. Before use, consult with your doctor. The following groups of drugs are capable of enhancing immunity:
- Immunostimulants (Amiksin, Arbidol, Imudon, Immunal)
- Interferon preparations (Cycloferon, Viferon, Interferon)
- Thymus preparations (Timalin, Thymusamin, Timogen)
- Multivitamins (Undevit, ABC, Complivit, Duovit)
Popular methods of improving immunity
There are several proven popular recipes that can enhance immunity:
- Coniferous decoction. Needles of any coniferous tree will do. It is better to collect them away from roads, businesses and homes. Before preparing the drink, the needles should be thoroughly rinsed under running water. One glass of needles pour a liter of water and put on a slow fire. After boiling, cook for 15 minutes, then let stand for at least half an hour. Drink a glass a day.
- Ginger tea. Ginger root must be washed and chopped. It can be brewed on its own by pouring boiling water on it or mixing it with tea in equal proportions. Drink as usual tea.
- Lemon drink. For one lemon you need to take half a liter of hot water. Squeeze lemon juice into water, drink a glass. The drink turns out very sour, but you can add sugar or squeeze a lemon in the same proportions in the tea.
- Echinacea tincture. You can not cook it yourself, but buy it at the pharmacy. Take 15 drops of tincture, diluting it in a glass of warm water, twice a day.
- Tincture of Eleutherococcus. Also sold in pharmacies in ready-made form. 30 drops of tincture diluted in a glass of water, taken twice a day.
- Fish fat. Also very useful for the immune system. At the moment there is no need to force yourself to drink disgusting taste medicine. Pharmacies sell fairly cheap fish oil capsules, they are completely tasteless. Take them one at a time every day.
General rules for strengthening immunity
For the immune system, lifestyle is paramount. Our habits, way of eating, daily routine - all this affects the immune system. To strengthen it should follow the following rules:
- Balanced diet. Particular attention should be paid to the consumption of protein foods and vitamins. Fatty and fried dishes, on the contrary, should be excluded from the diet.
- Physical activity. She should be moderate. Exhausting loads also reduce immunity, as well as their complete absence.
- Healthy sleep. It is necessary to sleep at least 7-8 hours a day. The bedroom should be warm but well ventilated.
- Walks in the open air. You need to walk in any weather at least half an hour a day.
- Hardening. This procedure should be carried out in a certain sequence, regularly and gradually. You should start with air baths, then wiping with a wet towel and only after dousing. Moves to the next stage only after getting used to the previous one. You can use a douche, but at the beginning of the temperature difference should be minimal, it is also necessary to increase it gradually.
Thus, we can conclude that immunity is a whole system responsible for maintaining the health of the body. Various factors can cause its decline. You can increase immunity with the help of medicinal substances or popular methods. To maintain it at a constant level, it is necessary to adhere to simple rules: eat right, play sports, observe the daily regimen.