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Surprising facts about immune system

1. Each part of the immune system has a unique function

The immune system acts the same way as a military setting. There are different branches, but each serves a unique function in protecting the body.

The first line of defence is the white blood cells, which are the first to recognise pathogens and fight off infection. Lymphocytes, a specific type of white blood cells, work to allow the body to remember the invading microbes to fight them faster in future infections.

Other parts of the immune system include the bone marrow, where white blood cells are produced; lymph nodes, which produce and store infection-fighting cells throughout the body; and the spleen, which helps control the amount of blood in the body and cleans out old or damaged blood cells from the body.

2. Vaccines educate your immune system

Vaccines work by stimulating the immune system to produce antibodies against a foreign invader without actually infecting the individual with the disease.

They educate the immune system using a unique component of that pathogen so, upon exposure to that pathogen in the future, you have very minimal to no symptoms.

3. Not all germs are bad

Countless microbes live on and in our bodies, and they are necessary to maintain good health. Good bacteria in our bodies provides us with nutrients we need and also provides a defence against bad bacteria and infection.

However, a balance needs to be maintained because when good bacteria is reduced, bad bacteria can take over, making us feel sick.

4. Allergies are the result of your immune system reacting to a false alarm

When you experience an allergic reaction, your immune system is responding to a harmless allergen that it perceives as a threat. 5. Your immune system can attack itself. Autoimmune diseases occur when the immune system destroys its own healthy tissues.

In such cases, white blood cells in the body cannot distinguish between pathogens and the body’s normal cells, setting off a reaction that destroys healthy tissues. While there are over 80 different types of autoimmune disorders, common ones include rheumatoid arthritis, psoriasis, and Crohn’s disease.

6. Women are more likely to be diagnosed with autoimmune diseases

While the cause of autoimmune diseases is unknown, it is generally believed to have a strong genetic component, and women in their child-bearing years are at the highest risk.

7. Stress can affect the way your immune system works

Stress can lead to increased levels of cortisol, a steroid hormone that is important for overall function of our body; but too much of it can lead to a number of health problems, including decreased immunity. The high level of steroids can blunt your immune system.

8. You can boost your immunity

Positive emotions and a healthy lifestyle may boost your immunity. Some research suggests that optimism can actually make our immune system work better. It seems, the happier you are, the more likely you are to eat right and be less stressed, which will help your immune system.

9. Sleep deprivation affects your immunity

Not getting enough sleep can wreak havoc on the body, and the immune system is no exception. Studies show that lack of sleep may make you more likely to catch a cold and also makes it more difficult to fight off infection.

10. Being too clean can inhibit your immune system from functioning properly

Cleaning and disinfecting may seem like the best way to avoid infection, but this is a case where there can be too much of a good thing. When you make your environment so clean, you minimise so many foreign pathogens that you actually minimise the development of the immune system.

This is, especially, the case with young children, since if they’re not exposed to harmful microbes at all, their bodies won’t be able to develop the proper antibodies to fight them off. Clean normally, but don’t be obsessive about it. While trying to avoid foreign pathogens, you don’t want to unintentionally minimise the good bacteria in your environment.

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