Long-term good habits such as a balanced diet, physical activity, adequate sleep, maintaining a normal weight, not smoking, etc. help to keep your immune system healthy and strong. Age, heredity and illnesses also play an important role.
IMMUNE DEFICIENCY is a condition where some parts of the body’s immune system do not function properly, reducing our resistance to disease. If it is congenital (i.e. inherited) and caused by gene defects, foetal malformations, etc., it is called primary immunodeficiency, which usually manifests itself in the first year of life. It has a low incidence, affecting about 1 in every 10,000 to 100,000 people. Such people are generally treated by clinical immunologists and paediatricians.
However, there are many environmental factors that impair our body’s resistance. These factors may interfere with our immune system either temporarily or over a longer period of time. A decrease in resistance over a lifetime is called acquired immunodeficiency. This decline in our body’s defence against disease may not be permanent and lifelong, i.e. once the cause is eliminated, normal immune function is restored.
There are many reasons for the decline in body’s defence capabilities, the most important of which are:
- Food and nutrient deficiencies (starvation, protein deficiency, vitamin and mineral deficiencies)
- Metabolic disorders (e.g. diabetes, severe liver and kidney diseases, etc.)
- Infectious diseases, such as viral infections (HIV, viral hepatitis, SARS-CoV-2, etc.), bacterial infections, fungal infections, parasitic diseases, tuberculosis, etc.
- Medicines, chemicals, industrial and household poisons, etc.
- Stress, prolonged insomnia
- Excessive physical activity
- Significant overweight
- Autoimmune diseases, tumours, blood diseases, etc.
- Surgical removal of some organs affecting the immune system (e.g. spleen, thymus), heavy blood loss
- Old age
- Alcoholism, drug use
- Severe traumas, burns