Immune System Disorders

Immune system disorders allergies

Last Updated December 20th, 2021

Overview of immune system disorders

The primary responsibility of the immune system is to protect the body from diseases. The immune system works by producing specific antibodies against the invading antigens. Some important proteins, namely the Immunoglobulin proteins also play a significant role in immunity. But under certain predisposing conditions, the immune system of the body attacks the body cells instead of protecting them. This pathological condition mainly arises from various genetic factors and is known as “immune system disorder”.

 

What are immune system disorders?

Immune system disorders allergyImmune system disorders or autoimmune disorders are a group of diseases that occur when the immune system of the human body attacks the body cells instead of protecting them.

Under normal conditions, the immune system identifies the foreign particles within the body (virus, bacteria or other pathogens) and destroys them. But in some cases, the immune system mistakes the body cells for harmful antigens and attacks them.

This results in the destruction of the cells and tissues in that part of the body. This, in turn, leads to malfunctioning of the specific organ that results in some major immune system disorders. Medical conditions of lesser intensity may arise from the anomalous functioning of the immune system. These are known as “allergies”.

 

How does the immune system work?

Two primary groups of cells are responsible for body immunity. These are as follows-

  • B-cells: B-cells comprise of the different immunoglobulins and antibodies like- IgA, IgD, IgE, IgG and IgM. In a healthy person, these cells provide protection against different pathogens. But in certain diseases, hyperactivity or hypoactivity of these antibodies occurs. In the hyperactive state, the concentration of the immunoglobulins increases abnormally. This occurs either as an inflammatory response or due to some chronic infections like cancer. In the hypoactive state, the concentration of the immunoglobulins decline sharply. This is usually common in certain immunosuppression states such as- agammaglobulinemia or hypogammaglobulinemia.
  • T-cells: Three primary types of T-cells are present in the body namely- helper cells, cytotoxic cells and the suppressor cells. The helper T cells co-ordinate the immune response. The cytotoxic cells help in the elimination of the infected cells from the body. The suppressor cells help in the suppression of the abnormal immune response.

Functional abnormalities of any of these cells may arise due to genetic and environmental factors. This leads to immune system disorders.

 

Genetics of immune system disorders

Immune system disorders allergiesMutations in certain genes are responsible for autoimmune diseases. Given below is a list of such genes-

  • AIRE: This gene results in Autoimmune Polyendocrine Syndrome. In this condition, the T-cells escape the thymic negative selection due to abnormalities in the expression of the self-antigens present in the thymus.
  • FOXP3: The diseases occurring, in this case, are- Enteropathy, Polyendocrinopathy, X-lined Syndrome (IPEX) and immune dysregulation. These diseases arise from the reduction in the generation of the regulatory T cells, CD4+ cells and the CD25+ cells.
  • FAS: This gene leads to a disease known as Autoimmune Lymphoproliferative Syndrome (ALPS). This results due to the apoptotic death of the reactive B and T cells.

These genetic factors may also combine with certain environmental triggers and disease-causing pathogens to lead to immune system disorders.

 

What are the different types of immune system disorders?

The autoimmune disorders may attack the different parts of the body and elicit immune response. The different types of the immune system disorders will be discussed in separate sections.

 

Rheumatoid arthritis

Immune system disorders RAIt is a type of symmetric inflammatory disease in which swelling and inflammation of the small bones present in the hands and feet occur.

The main factors behind this disease are irritation of the nerve endings and overstretching of the capsules due to swelling of the respective joints.

The joints that are affected in this disease are- the cervical spine, the joints of the hand and wrists, feet and ankle joints, elbow and shoulder joints and the temporomandibular joints.

Rheumatoid arthritis has the following subtypes-

  • Seropositive Rheumatoid Arthritis
  • Felty’s syndrome
  • Rheumatoid vasculitis

 

Grave’s disease

It is also known as “toxic diffuse goitre”. An abnormal enlargement of the thyroid gland occurs in this condition. The immune system generates a particular antibody known as Thyroid Stimulating Immunoglobulin (TSI). The TSI attaches itself to the thyroid gland and emulates the actions of the Thyroid Stimulating Hormone (TSH) for a long time. This causes overproduction of the thyroid hormones (Thyroxine and Triiodothyronine). Bulging out of the eye-balls and double vision also occur in this disease.

 

Celiac disease

Celiac disease is a type of gastrointestinal disorder in which the consumption of gluten-containing food products leads to the inflammation of the inner lining of the small intestine. This results in the malabsorption of Vitamins A,D,E,K, iron and calcium across the small intestine.

Celiac disease is of four types-

  • Silent
  • Latent
  • Typical
  • Atypical
  • Non-responsive

 

Hemolytic anemia

This is a hemoglobin deficiency disease in which destruction and elimination of the red blood cells (RBCs) occurs even before their normal lifespan of 120 days. This disease is often manifested as- Cholelithiasis, Reticulocytosis and jaundice. It has two subtypes-

  • Warm hemolysis (caused by IgG autoantibodies)
  • Cold hemolysis (caused by IgM autoantibodies)

 

Type I diabetes

In this disease, autoimmune destruction of the pancreatic beta cells occurs. This leads to a decline in insulin production and a consequent increase in the blood-glucose level.

 

Psoriasis

Psoriasis is a type of skin disease in which large portions of the skin suffers from inflammation, patchiness and redness along with the formation of reddish, scaly plaques.

 

Diagnosis

The following diagnostic tests may be helpful-

  • Blood test (CBC)
  • Swab test
  • Skin biopsy
  • TSH test
  • Ultrasonography

 

Treatment and prevention

The exact treatment method used for treating immune system disorders depends upon the type of immune system disease. For example, immunodeficiency state such as in case of HIV/AIDS is treated with the help of antiretroviral medications. Other conditions are treated with the help of antibiotics and immunoglobulin therapy. In extreme cases, where the bone marrow becomes incapable of producing adequate lymphocytes, a bone marrow transplant may be required.

There are no ways to prevent primary ( hereditary) immune system disorders. For acquired immune system disorders, the following steps can be taken to reduce the onset of infections:

  • Practice proper hygiene and sanitation.
  • Consume healthy and home cooked food. Avoid street and outside food at any cost.
  • Get vaccinated for infections.
  • Avoid contact with other infected individuals.
  • Maintain physical fitness by having a regular exercise routine.

Facts

  • The first line of defense in our immunity system is the WBCs or the white blood cells. Lymphocyte, a type of WBC, “remembers” microbe invasions that help the body to fight the infection faster in the future.

Facts

  • Cortisol, a steroid hormone produced when your body is under stress, inhibits the working of the immune system.
  • There are more than 80 different types of autoimmune diseases such as Lupus, Crohn’s Disease, Celiac Disease, and Rheumatoid Arthritis.

Facts

  • Fever and rising temperature is an indication that your body has released white blood cells and has accelerated metabolism to ward off pathogens.
  • Immunodeficiency occurs when the immune system is too weak to fight disease-causing microbes. HIV/AIDS is one such disease.

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Dos and Don'ts

Dos
  • Always remember to supplement your diet with probiotics, the good bacteria that help in boosting immunity.
  • Get ample amount of vitamin D naturally through sunlight if you have a weak immune system.
  • Practice stress relieving techniques such as yoga, meditation, and other forms of exercises.
Don'ts
  • Eat sugary foods. Sugar disturbs your gut bacteria culture that results in poor immunity.
  • Lead a largely sedentary lifestyle. It is important to remain physically active in order to build a strong immune system.
  • Indulge in self-medication. Restrict overconsumption of antibiotics. Similarly, when taking an antibiotic course of medicines, make sure that you take the complete prescribed dosage.

 

 

 

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Electroencephalogram – EEG EEG or electroencephalogram is a diagnostic tool used to access the functioning of neurons and brain activity to…
LFT-test
Liver Function Test – LFT LFT or Liver Function Test is a blood test used to determine the levels of hepatic enzymes which…
Vitamin-D-blood-test
25-Hydroxy Vitamin D test 25-hydroxy Vitamin D test is a blood test used to measure the level of vitamin D in the…
Rubella IgM test
Rubella IgM Test The Rubella IgM test is a blood test that is performed to diagnose the presence of the rubella…
HSV-1_IGG
Herpes Simplex Virus I (HSV)-IgG Test Herpes simplex virus I(HSV)-IgG is an Immunoglobulin protein that acts as an antibody & stays in the blood…
Thyroid disorders
Thyroid Profile Thyroid profile is a panel of blood tests performed to check if an individual is suffering from any…
Squid-ink-spaghetti
Squid Ink: A unique food coloring and flavoring agent Want to add a unique black color to your pasta, noodles and ice-creams? How can you use squid…
Squid-ink-spaghetti
Squid Ink: A unique food coloring and flavoring agent Want to add a unique black color to your pasta, noodles and ice-creams? How can you use squid…
Squid-ink-spaghetti
Squid Ink: A unique food coloring and flavoring agent Want to add a unique black color to your pasta, noodles and ice-creams? How can you use squid…
Hepatitis A virus infected liver
Hepatitis A Virus (HAV) Total Blood test to look for IgM antibodies to know if you are infected with Hepatitis A virus (HAV),…
alcohol toxic
7 startling facts that will make you quit alcohol today Does drinking really make you friendly and happy? How many calories does a can of cold beer add…
lose weight fast
12 easy and instant steps to successful weight loss Do you want to lose weight without losing your mind? Does weight loss always mean saying goodbye to…
Jack in the box fast food
Jack In the Box : The perils of surging fast food culture in the USA Jack in the Box - How a culture of fast-food can clog your arteries, weaken your heart, fatten…
nutritional yeast bread
Nutritional Yeast : How can a fungi culture be good for your body? Nutritional yeast: How a simple culture of fungi can transform your skin, digestion, immunity , and much more.…
How seitan proved to be a blessing in disguise for vegans worldwide Can only meat-eaters enjoy delicious juicy steaks and burgers? With seitan, the best meat substitute available today,even vegans…
General adaptation syndrome: Understanding stress, one step at a time The struggle of the body to produce hormones during a stressful situation is the main theme of general…
Inversion Therapy: The anti-gravity way of healing chronic back pain Inversion therapy involves suspending a person upside dow using different types of equipment. This works by taking the…
The Cabbage Soup Diet: The healthiest way to instant weight loss Cabbage soup diet rapid weight loss diet for those who want to shed those extra pounds in less…
How to scrub away stress and fatigue with an Epsom salt bath? Epsom salt is a popular home remedy for many skin ailments. Though there is a lack of scientific…
reflexology massage
Top reasons why you should go for a reflexology massage today Reflexology involves the application of pressure to your feet and hands to encourage self-healing. Could this be beneficial…
phenytoin test
Phenytoin test Phenytoin is a drug that is administered mainly to epilepsy patients. The phenytoin blood test measures the level…
Unbelievable health benefits of gooseberries (and a few tasty recipes) Gooseberries are antioxidant-rich tasty fruits that can be easily added in daily diet to improve overall health and…
piles fissure fistula
Allopathy vs homeopathy vs ayurveda treatment for piles, fissures, and fistula Read to know the best form of treatment among allopathy, homeopathy,or ayurveda for piles, fissures, and fistula
Optavia diet
The features of an Optavia diet The Optavia diet endorses pre-packaged meals and snacks called "fuelings" that are tasty, low in calorie, and incorporates…
sleep deprivation
Don’t let your sleep deficit grow into memory loss or heart attack Why is sleep important for us? How could sleep deprivation harm you? We bet you didn't know about…