Friday, September 14, 2012

The Immune System Basic Function

The immune system gathers information on pathogens and disease, and then produces ammunition to isolate, neutralize and destroy invaders. The tonsils, thymus, spleen, bone marrow, and lymph nodes work as a team to protect the body.
    The tonsils are masses of lymphatic tissue and produce lymphocytes that trap and kill bacteria entering the mouth and throat to gaurd the respiratory and digestive systems.

    Thymus A lymphatic mass functioning in the programming of lymphocytes. It Produces and converts the B-cells into T-cells which are specialized to meet a particular enemy. The thymus produces a hormone called thymosin and acts as an incubator for the maturation of T lymphocytes. Stress shrinks the thymus.
    Bone Marrow
    Resides in the skull, ribs, shoulder blades, vertebrae, breastbone, and hip bones. It generates stem cells crucial to our immunity. Various stem cell types assist in regeneration and repair throughout our bodies. 

    Lymph Fluid
    Lymph is a colorless blood serum derived from plasma that has leaked from the bloodstream into the tissue spaces and is recovered by a network of tiny vessels that separate it from the bloodstream. This fluid brings with it tissue toxins, excess fluid, dead cells, and microbes, removing them from the body.  

    Lymph Vessels
    Tiny, thin-walled vessels made up of one-way valves that pump lymph fluid along by the contraction of nearby muscles during activity. Since muscle contractions serve to pump the plasma, we must exercise if we want to maintain the lymphatic highway or our immune system.

Our Immune Defense Fortress

Our defense system is set up like an army: protective barriers, specialised soldiers, manufacturing stations, transportation systems, storage areas and clean-up crews. The immune system's job is to defend the body. It's activated by invading organisms. Most respiratory symptoms are caused by the immune system. These symptoms are helpful, even essential, in overcoming an illness. 
    Protective BarriersOur skin is the outer wall of the fortress. The eyes, nose, and mouth are protected by mucous that captures harmful attackers. In the Nose are cilia, which are tiny hairs that trap particles. In the stomach, intruders pass through stomach acid that will destroy most of them.
    Helpful Immune System Defense
    Coughing is a natural reflex that expels disease-causing germs from the lower respiratory tract. It clears the lungs and bronchi of excess mucus, helping prevent pneumonia.

    SneezingSneezing is a convulsive explosion of air from the lungs through the nose and mouth. It is a protective reflex that clears the upper airway of germs, irritants, and mucus.
    FeverFever kills invading organisms and “pasteurizes” the blood. It speeds metabolism and enhances delivery of oxygen and nutrients to sites of infection. It hastens removal of cellular debris and toxins.

Cause of Poor Immunity

Stress and the immune system
According to the CDC, as much as 90% of all illness can be directly tied to stress, because it breaks down the defenses of the immune system and opens the doorway to a host of injurious invaders.

  • Chemicals 
  • Cleaning agents
  • Mold
  • Pollutants
  • Pesticides 
Toxic Exposure
It is estimated that 85% of all debilitating diseases are closely related to toxin-related pollution present in the environment. Some include:

Free Radical Damage

These toxins cause free radical damage. Free radicals steal an electron from a cell which disrupts and destabilizes it, which causes a chain reaction that moves from cell to cell. Free radicals
knock out communications pathways between the cells of the immune system - according to Dr Jesse Stoff, MD. Free radicals suppress the body's immune cells, damage DNA and promote aging.

Nutrient Lacking Foods
"There's no question the immune system is influenced by overall health -- and a balanced diet is key.  Not only are essential nutrients critical for the production and maintenance of key germ-fighting cells in the immune system, but a balanced diet also has a strong effect on vascular function, and the immune system is dependent on blood flow," said David Katz, M.D., M.P.H., director of the Yale Prevention Research Center in New Haven, Connecticut.

Lack of Sleep
The National Sleep Foundation states that 68% of Americans report suffering from sleep deprivation. Studies have shown that adults need an average of 8 hours of sleep each night
When sleep is interrupted the immune system cannot complete its defense cycle.

Sedentary Lifestyles

The lymphatic fluid is only active when our bodies are active. If you do not move, then your lymph system will become stagnant and toxic. This increases vulnerability to illness.

Antibiotic Resistance
Even though there has been a decline of infectious diseases over the last 60 years, bacteria are becoming increasingly resistant to existing drugs. Many antibiotics are no longer effective at combating common diseases, and a  lack of research into new drugs means there is a dire shortage of alternatives.

The Roles of Antibiotics

Life-saving in some cases, but definitely overused in the U.S. Overuse produces antibiotic-resistant “superbugs,” and is a world-wide public health problem. It's effective only for bacterial infections—not viral or fungal infections. Antibiotics kill bad bacteria and good bacteria, including friendly bacteria, probiotics in the gut. 
    Concern: No New Antibiotic Development“Research and development of new antibiotics isn't keeping up with development of resistance. If we don't do something about it we'll end up with a situation where all the old drugs have resistance and we don't have any new ones,“ said Dr. Kathleen Holloway of the World Health Organization. In some parts of the world there is already antibiotic resistance to TB, Dysentery and Pneumonia.
    Concern: Challenging Viruses
    There is an increased concern about viral invaders, and it seems we are frequently being warned of a new ominous virus. Although new vaccines are being developed; they  only target several strains of viruses and side effects are a concern


Viruses need a host cell because they do not reproduce on their own. They seize control of a cell, and often the cell is destroyed during this process. Viruses include:
    The Common Cold
    One of the most common illnesses worldwide and c
    aused by one of more than hundreds of types of viruses. 
    Symptoms of the cold include s
    ore throat, low-grade fever, stuffy or runny nose, body aches, coughing, sneezing.

Respiratory System Diseases

There are numerous problems and diseases. They can include colds, bronchitis, croup, sinusitis, pneumonia and influenza.

    Bronchitis Symptoms
    Short-lived inflammation of trachea and large and small bronchi. Caused by viral or bacterial infection. Often follows cold or flu. Coughing is persisitent in its attempt to clear the mucus. Other symptoms include hoarseness, fever, wheezing and dull chest pain. 

    Croup Symptoms

    Viral infection causing swelling of vocal cords. It's most common in children younger than 6 years of age. Symptoms include barking cough and trouble breathing, and narrowing of airways may necessitate emergency intervention.

    Sinusitis Symptoms

    Infection or inflammation of sinuses caused by bacteria, viruses, or fungi. Symptoms include headaches, sinus pain and pressure, swollen nasal passages, fever, cough, post nasal drip
    Bad breath, cough, fever, and nasal congestion will often be present.

    Pneumonia Symptoms
    Inflammation of the lung or lungs caused by infection from bacteria or viruses. Symptoms include fever, chest tightness and discomfort, difficulty breathing, coughing, and wheezing. Over 3 million people develop pneumonia annually in the United States. It is the 8th leading cause of death in the United States. Most people who develop pneumonia initially have an upper respiratory infection.
    Influenza or Flu Sympoms

    Caused by a number of viruses. Symptoms similar to those of common cold but typically have sudden onset and are more severe. Can be life-threatening in the ill, the elderly, and the very young. It enters the body by breathing the air of someone with the flu who coughed or sneezed. The virus has an enzyme which enables it to penetrate the mucus lining in the respiratory tract and make a home there. The infection nests in cells lining the air passage and spreads to other cells.  

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