What Causes a Low Immune System?

A powerful immune system does wonders for your well-being and is the gateway to a healthy life. A low white blood cell count, hence a weak immune system, leaves the body defenseless and open to attack. Many people wonder why they are so susceptible to colds and other viral infections, oblivious that their own immune system may be the culprit.
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  1. The Structure of Your Immune System

    • The lymphoid organs are located in the entire body. They host the small white blood cells (lymphocytes) that help to guard the body against disease. These lymphocytes plus phagocytes (the blood cells that protect the body against foreign particles and bacteria) comprise the immune system. All immune system cells must work together to operate effectively. When this fails to occur, a weak immune system develops.

    Excess Sugar May Hurt Your Immune System

    • By consuming too much sugar, your immune system loses its ability to destroy germs by 40 percent. Sugar suppresses the immune system and begins affecting the body within minutes after consumption, and can last for up to 5 hours. To combat virus and bacteria, the white blood cells need a high supply of Vitamin C. When excess sugar is inside the body it erodes the Vitamin C present and breaks down the immune system cell structure.

    Diseases Weaken Your Immune System

    • When part of the immune system malfunctions or is absent, an immune deficiency disease can develop. Immune deficiency diseases are bred either from an inborn immune system cell defect (primary immune deficiency disease) or from an extrinsic environmental agent (secondary immune deficiency disease). Example: AIDS is caused by an extrinsic force (HIV) and is therefore a secondary immune deficiency disease. Autoimmune diseases such as multiple sclerosis and lupus affect the tissue that connects the body tissue and organs, triggering a breakdown in the immune system.

    Alcohol Can Hurt Your Immune System

    • Excessive alcohol intake deprives the body of valuable nutrients and causes nutritional deficiency. It stops the white blood cells from multiplying and disables the macrophages (the cells that ingest foreign particles) from generating tumor necrosis factors (proteins). This shortage of immune system cells results in a weakened immune system. The amount of damage caused by alcohol to the immune system depends on how much the user ingests.

    Allergens Affect the Immune System

    • When the immune system views otherwise harmless materials such as pollen and dust or a certain food type as a threat, it goes into attack mode, hence an allergic reaction. The body's intestinal lining is generally an impenetrable wall built to block foreign invaders. When an allergy occurs, the wall is destroyed leaving the immune system open to invaders and other toxins.

    Treatment for a Weak Immune System

    • For patients with a low immune system, physicians will sometimes prescribe immune-boosting medicines such as interferon, which includes protein for combating viral infections. Maintaining a balanced diet and increasing vitamin intake are also highly recommended.

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