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Why is Immune System Essential for Our Health And How to Improve It?

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Medically reviewed by Neesh Patel, MB DCH
Our immune system is our body’s superhero, as it fights against diseases to keep us safe and healthy. It’s a defence mechanism that helps kill pathogens like fungi, bacteria, viruses, etc., with antibodies. A healthy immune system is a must to stay healthy and protect from harmful substances, cell changes, and germs. This may have answered why our immune system is essential for our health.
But, do you know how does our immune system work? How can we boost our immunity and achieve good health?
Let’s find out.

How Does the Immune System Work?

The immune system’s job is to recognize harmful substances that enter your body, fight pathogens like bacteria and parasites, and remove them. It also fights cell changes in the body, causing diseases like cancer.
When foreign or harmful substances with antigens attach to immune cell receptors, they induce an immune response, which triggers a series of processes in the body. The first time the body comes in contact with a substance, the cells store all the information about the pathogen and how to fight it. The next time the same pathogen enters the body, the immune system is prepared to fight it.

What are the types of immunity?

Humans have three types of immunity:

1. Innate Immunity

As the name suggests, innate immunity is a general protection you are born with. For example, our skin blocks germs and foreign substances by acting as a barrier, thus preventing danger.

2. Adaptive Immunity

Adaptive immunity is developed with exposure to diseases or through vaccines. It tends to develop throughout life to help us fight diseases and health threats.

3. Passive Immunity

Passive immunity lasts only for a short while since it is borrowed, for example, antibodies in mothers’ milk give babies immunity to fight against that disease.
While the innate immune system fights pathogens entering the body, the adaptive immune system keeps learning and fighting even the bacteria or virus that changes over time.

What are the Parts of the Immune System?

The immune system is a complex collection of organs and cells. Its main parts include:

1. White Blood Cells

White blood cells are critical to the immune system since they find and destroy bacteria and viruses in the body. There are different cell types, each residing in a particular tissue, responsible for a specific mission.

2. Lymph Nodes

Lymph nodes are small glands that destroy germs and pathogens so they don’t spread in the body. They consist of immune cells that replicate white blood cells to fight off invaders.

3. Spleen

The role of the spleen is to store white blood cells and filter blood by removing old and damaged red blood cells.

4. Tonsils and Adenoids

Tonsils and adenoids are present in the nasal passage and throat to trap pathogens as soon as they enter the body.

5. Thymus

The thymus is located in the upper chest and helps white blood cells mature so they can learn to recognize invaders the next time they enter.

6. Bone Marrow

Bone marrow makes billions of blood cells including red blood cells, plasma cells, and a variety of white blood cells every day. It then releases them into the bloodstream.

7. Skin, Mucous Membranes, and Other First-Line Defenses

Our skin secretes oils and WBCs to destroy pathogens entering the body through the skin. Mucous membranes line the reproductive, digestive, and urinary tracts to protect them. Nose hair catch germs. Similarly, saliva, tears, and sweat defend the body.

8. Stomach and Bowel

Good bacteria and stomach acid kill bacteria as soon as they enter the stomach.

What Affects Our Immune System?

Various factors that depress the immune system include:

How to Boost Immunity?

Our immune system needs constant nourishment in order to stay functional and protect our body. And to provide it with the nourishment it needs, we must follow a disciplined lifestyle. Here are the top things you can do for your immune system:
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Conclusion

Now you know – why your immune system is essential for your health, how your immune system works, and how you can boost your immunity. So, make sure you take care of your health, and you can strengthen your body by maintaining a healthy lifestyle. Though immune system-related issues can be genetic, 58% of the immune system is determined by non-genetic factors. All work you put into strengthening your body would be worth it.
Bookmark this article, make sure to understand your body’s needs, and develop habits that keep your immune system healthy.
Jigar Patel is the Founder of Health-e, a HealthTech app that simplifies health records management along with providing personalized and preventative healthcare solutions. Although he has 20+ years of operations and management experience in the EPC domain, Jigar’s true passion lies in making healthcare simpler, faster and more accessible for doctors and patients alike. He strongly believes that people need to be empowered to participate in their own healthcare and is constantly thinking of ways to build this into his app. He loves to keep things simple be it in life, product design, his work or the content he develops. Being married for 10 years and having 2 kids have taught him that perspective matters, so you can always count on him to share new perspectives on various topics.
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