Immune System Dysfunction
The immune system is basically the bio-mechanical method the body uses to protect itself from pathogens found in bacteria and viruses that invade the body. Pathogens are infectious agents that can cause disease, illnesses and even death.
Immune system dysfunctions can be broken down into two distinct sub-categories – Immunodeficiency (this happens when the body fails to recognize and fight pathogens e.g. diarrhea, thrush) and autoimmunity (the immune system attacks a part of the body believing it to be an intruder e.g. eczema)
Causes of immune system dysfunction
There are numerous factors that weaken the immune system and cause dysfunction.
Some genetic diseases cause immune dysfunction whereby the system fails to recognize viruses, bacteria or anything that is not a normal part of the body. Diseases of the spleen, thymus or other inherited defects lead to an absence of white blood cells which results in frequent infections that can be potentially fatal.
Hepatitis B or HIV/AIDS is an immune system disease but rather than being inherited or congenital it is an infection transmitted sexually or contracted through blood transfused from an infected person. The human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) prevents the production of antibodies and killer T-cells which destroy viruses, bacteria and cancer cells.
MS, Rheumatoid arthritis, Juvenile diabetes and Lupus are all believed to be caused by an over-active immune system. Allergies are also related to immune system dysfunction and some medications can prevent the immune system from functioning correctly.
Symptoms of immune system dysfunction
Given the number of causes of immune system dysfunction the symptoms can be wide ranging. Depending on the condition, a person may experience any number of problems that are associated with the immune system. Some of the common symptoms include:
- Allergic reactions
- Bladder problems
- Bowel problems
- Circulatory problems
- Digestive problems
- Joint pain
- Mental deterioration (concentration, memory)
- Muscle weakness
- Recurrent infections
- Respiratory problems
- Swollen glands
- Weight problems