Immunity Issues: Can They be Prevented or Cured?

Immunity Issues

Many conditions can affect your immune system. Sometimes, your immune system may even attack your own body. This condition is known as an autoimmune disorder. It affects around 23.5 million Americans, 80% of whom are women.

If you have immunity issues, though, you’re not necessarily immunocompromised. You can still protect yourself from infections such as COVID-19 like a healthy person would. However, you have to receive treatments to resolve your immunity issues.

The symptoms are another story altogether. If you have an autoimmune disorder, your body can function differently. In women, periods may get delayed or painful. In men, sexual issues may occur. These problems can impact the quality of your life, so you have to manage your symptoms apart from treating your autoimmune disorder.

That said, let’s understand immunity issues better and see how you can make your life better despite having the condition.

Signs of a Weakened Immune System

The term “immunocompromised” refers to an immune system that isn’t functioning as expected. It’s either weaker than normal or attacking your own body. The terms “immunodeficiency” and “immunosuppressed” are often used interchangeably with immunocompromised, but the three have a few differences.

To have immunodeficiency means you have a higher risk of getting an infection. Being immunosuppressed means the same thing. On the other hand, being immunocompromised also means getting sick easily, but the condition functions like a dimmer. As such, it can affect you in different degrees.

If you are slightly immunocompromised, you may catch a cold more often than most people but recover from it fast. If you are severely immunocompromised, a common cold can be life-threatening for you.

Being immunocompromised can be temporary or permanent. Temporary cases tend to happen when you receive treatments for disease. Getting cancer treatment, for example, weakens your immune system for a time. If you beat the disease, your immune system will bounce back up.

Alternatively, a permanently compromised immune system is caused by congenital diseases.

The easiest way to tell if you are immunocompromised is to determine the frequency of your illnesses and their duration. If you get sick more often than most people and for longer periods, that’s a huge giveaway. But sometimes, in severe cases, you may not feel infections at all, even if you are immunocompromised. You don’t experience swelling, fever, or pus from a wound. You should get a blood test to confirm if your muted infections are signs of an immunity issue.

Conditions that Affect Your Immune System

Chronic medical conditions, such as cancer, heart disease, diabetes, HIV, and lung disease, cause a compromised immune system. Autoimmune disorders, such as thyroid diseases, lupus, rheumatoid arthritis, are also common causes. They are particularly tricky, as they cause your immune system to attack itself or your own body.

Doctors aren’t even sure why autoimmune disorders occur and why it’s common among women. One theory is that the higher hormone levels of women make them more prone to autoimmune disorders. However, that theory isn’t proven yet. So far, it’s been found that genetics and environmental factors determine one’s risk for autoimmune disorders.

Some scientists also think injury can play a role in some types of autoimmune disorders. According to research, when some parts of the body experience high stress, an autoimmune response occurs.

For example, if you run a marathon often, your tendons are constantly pulling to creating movement. That repeated stress can expose tissue to your blood cells. As a result, the blood cells will try to heal it. But with an autoimmune disorder, your joints and tendons will get inflamed instead of healed. This leads to psoriatic arthritis.

Still, more data is needed to prove that theory. So if you have an autoimmune disorder, your best option is to follow your treatment. It’s frustrating to have a condition you don’t fully understand, but following your treatment will help you manage your health better without worries.

How to Boost Your Weakened Immune System

Your immunity issues don’t have to make you vulnerable all the time. You can take action to protect yourself from infection. Include the following habits in your day:

  • Washing your hands with soap and water
  • Avoiding physical contact with sick people
  • Keeping your hands off your face
  • Cleaning and disinfecting commonly touched objects and surfaces
  • Eating a balanced diet
  • Getting enough sleep
  • Quitting smoking
  • Minimizing stress

If you still get infections often, visit the doctor and get tests. Don’t feel resigned to your condition. You will recover, even if your treatment doesn’t always go smoothly or comfortably.

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