New blood tests can reveal whether your immune system is fighting fit by looking at the balance of different immune cells, but there may be a simpler way of gauging your immune health
31 January 2023
WHEN you are under the covers, sniffling from your third cold of the year, you might wonder whether your immune system is pulling its weight. It is a question we would all love to answer: is our immune system healthy or not? Now, a burgeoning field of immunology is attempting to do just that with tests that “grade” your immune system, the idea being that it could help people preempt problems and motivate them to make lifestyle changes to avoid ill health.
To understand how healthy your immune system really is, let alone improve it, first it is helpful to get to grips with what it actually does. Consider it your internal army, with different units coordinating to eliminate enemy invaders, all while avoiding collateral damage to your own tissues and constantly adapting to new challenges.
Like a real army, your immune system can also fall into disarray, with some units underperforming while others go rogue. This can cause major illnesses.
So how do you tell whether your army is doing its best? Let’s begin by considering the different components. The first line of defence comes from innate immune cells such as macrophages, which engulf bacteria and release chemicals that trigger inflammation, making cells less hospitable to pathogens.
Once a threat has been identified, a second line of defence called the adaptive immune system kicks in, with more specialised tools. B-cells, for example, form antibodies that bind to the unwanted newcomer and render …
Source link The human body’s immune system is responsible for defending against potentially harmful foreign bodies such as bacteria and viruses. Its primary goal is to identify and eliminate these foreign substances before they can cause illness or disease. A strong immune system is key to good health and well-being, but a weak immune system can lead to frequent illness, allergies, and chronic conditions. Here are some tips on how to tell if you have a weak or a strong immune system.
1. Monitor your health: Pay attention to how often you get sick. If you frequently come down with illnesses, it could be a sign of a weakened immune system. Pay attention to other signs of ill health as well, such as fatigue and allergies.
2. Perform regular testing: Your doctor can help you assess your immune system through a range of tests. These could include a complete blood count, an immunoglobulin test, and an immunity cell count. These tests can help determine if your body’s immune system is functioning at its peak performance.
3. Be mindful of lifestyle habits: Smoking, drinking, stress and a lack of exercise– all these can take a toll on your immune system. Try to make sure you have a balanced lifestyle that includes plenty of physical activity, a healthy diet and enough sleep.
4. Look out for signs of infection: If you are constantly dealing with sore throats, sinus infections, or urinary tract infections, your immune system is likely not functioning properly. Seek out medical advice if this is the case.
By paying attention to your health, consulting your doctor regularly, being mindful of your lifestyle habits, and looking out for signs of infection, you can get an idea of whether your immune system is weak or strong. Remember to take care of your body and give your immune system a fighting chance against foreign bodies.