Learn About Ailments | Immune System Dysfunction

Immune System Dysfunction

The immune system is collection of organisms and mechanism that protect the body from viruses and infections by locating and killing pathogens (infectious agents that can cause disease or illness). There are two types of immune system dysfunctions - Autoimmunity (the immune system attacks a part of the body believing it to be an intruder e.g. eczema) and Immunodeficiency (occurs when the body fails to recognise and fight pathogens e.g diarrhoea, thrush).
Immune System Dysfunction

In This Article
Causes of immune system dysfunction Symptoms of immune system dysfunction
Diagnosis of immune system dysfunction Related terms

There is a variety of causes of immune system dysfunction as the body's defence mechanism can become weak by a host of factors.

Rare inherited diseases cause immune dysfunction whereby the system fails to recognise 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.

HIV/AIDS is an immune system disease but rather than being inherited or congenital it is an infection transmitted sexually or 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.

Certain conditions may be caused by immune system dysfunction. Rheumatoid arthritis, lupus, MS, psoriasis and juvenile diabetes are 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.

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
  • Weight problems
  • Respiratory problems
  • Muscle weakness
  • Mental deterioration (concentration, memory)
  • Circulatory problems
  • Swollen glands
  • Recurrent infections
  • Fatigue
  • Digestive problems
  • Headaches
  • Nausea
  • Bladder problems
  • Bowel problems
  • Joint pain

In the first instance you should visit your GP if your health deteriorates and problems become persistent. The GP will question you about your symptoms and may refer you for a blood test to help determine the possible cause of your condition.

Depending on the type of immune system dysfunction, you may be referred to a specialist for further investigation and tests.

Adrenal gland dysfunction
Chronic fatigue syndrome
Autoimmune disease

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Remedial Massage Shiatsu Yoga

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