The immune system in our body is nature’s own doctor. Our immune system protects us from disease using our body’s own resources. Its role is to recognize and differentiate between what is harmful and what is not, and act against foreign and disease causing antigens that enter the body.
The immune system fights antigens through cell-mediated immunity and humoral immunity. The first job is performed by white blood cells, which identify and destroy cancerous cells, bacteria, fungi and viruses. The second job is a bit more complex and involves production of antibodies, which are proteins with chemical structures similar to the surface of specific antigens. These antibodies either destroy the antigen or signal white blood cells to attack and destroy the antigen.
Whichever way the immune system acts, white blood cells are crucial. White blood cells are larger, can move through the blood stream on their own and penetrate the cell walls.
To perform these complex functions the body’s immune system health should be in perfect condition to retain the ability to ‘remember’ antigens that can cause a disease. Immune deficiency is indicated by frequent and prolonged illnesses and infections, uncontrollable diarrhea and poor child growth.
Some immune deficiencies are congenital or genetic in nature. Congenital or primary immune deficiency is identified early in life. Blood tests and vaccine administration are tried to establish immune deficiency. Blood tests reveal the adequacy or otherwise of white blood cells and vaccines are administered to see if they initiate production of the required amount of antibodies to fight antigens.
Management and treatment are the two major aspects of curing. Management requires learning about the disease and foods and activities that can enhance immune system’s health. For example, one can learn about herbs for immune system that can help in sprucing it up to a great extent.
The goal of treating immune deficiency is to decrease the frequency and severity of infections as well as limiting the side effects of a prescribed medication. Treatment involves medication, mostly antibiotics, and replacement therapies.