How Your Immune System Works
It is important to maintain both your good health and your body’s balance. Each time we get sick, a potential vulnerable spot may open in our body’s defenses.
Over time cell mediated immunity may become inadequate or malfunction. This could allow multiple genetic mutations in the same location (malignant transformations) to reach cell proportions resulting in abnormal or malignant growth. The process is generally quite slow and takes many years and may take many bouts of illness to manifest itself. The objective should to maintain a well-regulated body. If we can keep our immune system functioning efficiently, minimize the frequency and severity of all illnesses, and recover quickly, we are more likely to enjoy a healthy quality of life.
Staying alive and well is a very complicated task. The body contains an amazing array of systems to protect itself against invaders, called the immune system.
Your immune system protects you in several ways:
- By creating a barrier that prevents bacteria and viruses from entering your body.
- By detecting and eliminating those bacteria or viruses that manage to get into the body, before they have a chance to reproduce and proliferate.
- Eliminating those viruses or bacteria that have managed to reproduce in sufficient numbers to start causing problems.
- Finding cancerous (or other unwanted cells) and eliminating them.
The most obvious parts of the immune system are the barriers we can easily see — like our skin, eyes, nose, and mouth. Skin is tough and resistant to bacteria and secretes antibacterial substances. Tears and mucus contain an enzyme that breaks down the cell walls of many bacteria. Saliva is also anti-bacterial. And if any microbes make it past the saliva, the acids in the stomach are the next level of protection.
Most bacteria and viruses do not get through the body’s first line of defenses. But some do, and once inside the body, the immune system deals with germs and microbes on a different level – the level of attack and conquer. For most people, viral and bacterial infections are the most common causes of illness. These usually run their course until the body builds up immunity to those particular microbes and recovers. But most people are most concerned with the internal workings of the immune system.