Signs of a Weakened Immune System - What To Know
Your immune system comprises many different parts, including organs, cells, and proteins that all work together. It protects your body from harmful toxins, viruses, germs, fungi, and cell changes.
When your immune system is working well, it prevents germs from entering your body and either kills them or prevents them from doing much harm. If your immune system is weak, you are more at risk of illnesses such as colds, infections, or more severe diseases.
But, how do you know if your immune system is weak or weakened? Here are six common tell-tale signs.
1. Stomach issues
Have you heard of your gut microbiota? It is comprised of trillions of bacteria and other microbes that play an essential role in benefiting your immune system. In fact, gut-associated lymphoid tissue (which protects your body from antigens like viruses and toxins) makes up 70% of your immune system.
Your gut and your immune system are strongly linked. Your gut sends signals to help develop a healthy immune function. And your immune system populates the microbiome with health-promoting bacteria. It's a win-win relationship.
However, if you don't have enough healthy bacteria in your gut, you can be more at risk of viruses, chronic inflammation, and autoimmune disorders. Having regular bouts of diarrhea, bloating, gas, or constipation could signify that your immune system is weak.
2. Always have a cold
Everyone gets colds. They are difficult to avoid. Most people get 1-3 a year and quickly recover within about 7-10 days. But, if you are having more regular colds than that, or you find they last longer than ten days each time, it could be a sign that your immune system is low.
Sleep and the immune system are intrinsically linked. Getting good, regular sleep can strengthen your immune system, but a lack of sleep can weaken it.
When you have an infection, and your immune system is working hard, it can cause a lack of energy or sleepiness. People with a weakened immune system often feel tired all the time and can't seem to get their energy levels back up.
4. Your wounds won't heal
Wounds that won't heal or take longer than usual to heal are often a signal that your immune system is compromised.
The healing process relies on your immune cells. Your skin cannot regenerate as efficiently if your immune system isn't working to its best ability.
5. Constantly battling infections
Do you feel like you pick up one infection after another? Things like sinus, ear, or urinary tract infections? Infections tend to invade your body when your immune system is weak and can't make enough antibodies to prevent their attack. Recurrent infections can signal immunodeficiency.
6. Always feeling stressed
Stress can have a significant effect on your immune system. It has been found to weaken your immunity. Stress can also lead to unhealthy lifestyle habits like smoking, drinking alcohol, eating a poor diet, or not getting enough sleep. All of which impact your immune system.
Some of the best ways to keep your immune system strong are:
- Reduce stress levels and find ways to relax
- Eat a nutritious and balanced diet
- Get quality sleep
- Exercise regularly
- Wash your hands
- Maintain a healthy weight
- Avoid smoking and reduce alcohol intake