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Boosting immune system A strong shield against invaders   PDF Print E-mail
Written by Vice-Gov. Greg Sanchez Jr.   
Monday, 13 April 2009 14:01
          The health of the human body is dependent on the immune system’s ability to recognize and repel or destroy enemies, such as bacteria, viruses, and fungi, which are too small to be seen by our naked eyes that could violently create havoc to  our body’s health if our immune system is weak or missing the mark to destroy them completely.
          Unnoticeably, our body is facing an incessant wars within, which our immune system is our legion of defenders, it is a group of cells, molecules, and organs that act together to defend the body against foreign invaders that may cause diseases.
          But, environmental and lifestyle factors, such as poor nutrition or stress, can affect the immune system’s general status.
          Immune system protects the body from disease by seeking out and destroying foreign invaders, such as viruses and bacteria. But there is substantial evidence that stress suppresses the activity of the immune system, leaving an organism more susceptible to infectious diseases. An organism with a weakened immune system is also less able to control naturally occurring mutant cells that overproduce and lead to cancer.

          As we get older, our immune system will deteriorate, which its ability to carry out protective functions is diminished - the rate of antibody production may drop by as much as 80 percent between age 20 and age 85. This less-effective immune system explains why about influenza, which may make a young adult sick for a few days but can be fatal for an elderly person.

          A healthy immune system protects the body against bacteria, viruses, and other harmful agents by producing disease-fighting proteins known as antibodies. A healthy immune system also prevents the growth of abnormal cells, which can become cancerous.

          If a pathogen breaches the body’s outer barriers, the defenses of the immune system spring into action. Some of these defenses are effective against a variety of invaders, while others are tailor-made to fight a specific organism. White blood cells called phagocytes constantly travel through the bloodstream on the lookout for foreign objects. If they come upon a microorganism, they surround, engulf, and digest it.
          The immune system defends the body from invading organisms that may cause disease. One part of the immune system uses barriers to protect the body from foreign substances. These barriers include the skin and the mucous membranes, which line all body cavities; and protective chemicals, such as enzymes in saliva and tears that destroy bacteria.
          Another part of the immune system uses lymphocytes, specialized white blood cells that respond to specific types of foreign invaders.

•  B lymphocytes produce proteins called antibodies, which circulate in the
   blood and attack specific disease-causing organisms.
•  T lymphocytes attack invading organisms directly.
•  Tonsils are masses of lymphoid tissue forming a ring around the walls of
   the pharynx, or throat. The lymphoid cells in the tonsils help protect the
   pharynx from invasion by disease-producing bacteria.
•  Some lymphocytes form in the bone marrow and then travel to the thymus
   gland, where they mature into T lymphocytes.
•  Lymph nodes are masses of tissue that attract lymphocytes and deploy
   them to areas of the body under attack by infectious agents.
• The spleen is one of the lymphoid organs. Mature lymphocytes are
   constantly routing in our body to ensure that the body is continuously
   monitored for invading substances. Among its many functions, the spleen
   produces antibodies against various disease organisms and removes worn-
  out red blood cells from the bloodstream.
•  The bone marrow is the soft substance found in the center of some bones.
   All lymphocytes originate in the bone marrow. Those that mature in the
   bone marrow develop into B lymphocytes.
•  Lymphocytes travel throughout the body in the blood, but they often
   migrate into lymphatic vessels, which are found in all parts of the body
   except the brain. Lymphocytes travel within these vessels in a pale, fat-
   laden liquid known as lymph.

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