Understanding Your Immune System: Parts & Function

While doctors are essential and needed in life, it is not untrue that they function more like human body mechanics. Technically, while doctors perform many miracles, doctors don’t cure anything. 

If you don’t get good recommendations or vet your local hospital, the wrong doctor can do some damage, accidentally or not. Over 722,000 Americans acquire a life-threatening infection after their hospital admission every year

And over 75,000 people die every year from hospital-acquired infections.

The point we are making here is that, barring any naturally occurring or genetically predisposed medical conditions, the human body will always protect itself via its immune system.

Your doctor facilitates healing, but it is your immune system that actually does the healing.

Your immune system is your body’s own private military. When your body is infected by a foreign virus, bacteria, pathogen, or a naturally developing medical condition or disease, your immune system responds accordingly like an army to protect your body and your health.

Consider yourself lucky to have an immune system and never take it for granted. Up to 3% of people have a severely weakened or entirely suppressed immune system. 

And while it is uncommon, some people are born with no immune system whatsoever; the medical phenomenon is sometimes called the “Boy in the Bubble” syndrome. 

Have you ever seen news reports of isolated indigenous tribal people who live in the mountains or jungles with primitive lifestyles and who reject all contact with the modern world? Medical experts believe such people should always be isolated from the modern world.

Their immune systems are so simplified due to their isolation that they could fall severely ill or die if they contract a cold, never mind severe diseases, from contact with people in the civilized world. 

A recent medical study suggests that any isolated indigenous tribes that catch the coronavirus could face extinction

The point is that you could not survive without your immune system. And as long as you are in good health, your immune system will cure almost every medical issue, barring more severe conditions and diseases.

But your immune system is only as strong and healthy as you are. If you don’t take care of yourself, exercise and eat healthily, or get enough sleep according to your body’s natural circadian rhythms, then your immune system can become adversely affected. 

So, let’s discuss your immune system, what it does, and how you can take care of it, so it always takes care of you.

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What is the Immune System?

Think of your immune system as an internal network of cells, organs, tissue, chemicals, proteins, enzymes, and hormones that fight off infections and foreign invasions of viruses, bacteria, parasites, fungi, etc.

Your immune system is always at the ready and monitoring your body’s health like a military detail protecting a physical border. When your immune system senses infection or bodily invasion, it will send antibodies or secrete chemicals in the body to help defend it.

Your immune system is usually on duty or activated without you even realizing it.

If you have ever had a cold, fever, or mild inflammation, then those are good signs that your immune system is activated and working. Those are physical signs and evidence that your immune system is healthy, as unpleasant as the experience may have been.

When you have a fever, your immune system releases antibodies and white blood cells to defend sites of infection. Your metabolism also increases as a result. And the increase in body heat will hopefully kill off and prevent the invading foreign infection from multiplying.

You may not realize it, but it is a miracle that you are not infected with foreign bacteria or pathogens more often. Harmful germs and bacteria can invade your body from inhaling cough droplets in the air, touching infected things or people, sexual intercourse, insect bites, contaminated hypodermic needles, and contaminated water or food.

Your immune system does a lot to protect you.

Before we get too far ahead of ourselves, let’s break down how the immune system works step by step.

For example, did you know you have a two-tiered immune system full of numerous biological defense systems?

Innate Immune System

The innate immune system is the immune system you acquire at birth. 

Your innate immune system is composed of your eye’s corneas, skin, gastrointestinal tract, and the mucous membranes within your body.

Think about it; your skin is essentially your first point of defense against foreign invasion from bacteria and viruses. But your skin has drawbacks; cuts, burns, sores, and breaks in your skin, as well as natural orifices like your nostrils and mouth, are bypasses to this defense.

Your tears, sweat, and mucus contain enzymes developed by your immune system, which can kill bacteria.

Acquired Immunity

Acquired immunity is a term to describe the myriad ways that your body’s immune system will learn to defend it as it ages and grows from childhood.

Antibodies are chemical proteins that fight infection in the human body once it notices them. You may have genetically acquired antibodies from a parent’s DNA. Antibodies also alert your immune system of where the problem is and send reinforcements.

Another form of acquired immunity is automatic antibody activation once a virus enters your body. A vaccine contains chemically deactivated parts of a virus known as an antigen. Your immune system learns to recognize it and will stay vigilant if it invades the body again.

Your bones’ fatty and soft bone marrow creates red and white blood cells. White blood cells fight germs and bacteria as part of your immune system.

Phagocytes are a kind of immune system first responder – they are created by white blood cells. Phagocytes eat bacteria and foreign bodily invaders or entrap them in a biological cell to stop them.

Your lymphatic system is like a garbage collection system comprised of organic tubes running throughout your body. After your immune system kills viruses, bacteria, and dangerous cells, the lymphatic system collects the cellular husks and filters them out from your bloodstream and body.

The cellular waste is filtered via the lymph nodes located in the front of your throat. If you have an infection, you can feel your lymph nodes swell as they do their job.

The point here is that we don’t have space to describe the multitude of ways in which your immune system protects. But you should be aware that it is there and always working for your health.

Take Care of Your Immune System, and It Will Take Care of You

The optimum way to care for your immune system is to eat healthily, exercise, and get enough sleep at night, at least 7 to 9 hours nightly.

Learn to meditate, as stress weakens your immune system as well. 

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