While fully understanding the different systems of your body can be difficult, it’s a bit easier if you break them down into their individual components. When it comes to your immune system, there are five main parts of it that you need to know about.
White Blood Cells
All of these parts work together to help your immune system keep you healthy and free of any serious illnesses. The first part of your immune system to understand, and arguably one of the most important, is your white blood cells.
These cells are the troopers in your body, responding directly to anything that it perceives as a threat in order to take it out and prevent it from doing any additional damage.
There are two main types, each of which has a different function when attacking foreign cells. One type will attach on to the opposing cell and weaken it, while the other will attack it directly in an attempt to kill it off.
The Complement System
The part of your immune system that helps the white blood cells is the complement system. This system basically boosts the effectiveness of the white blood cells in a few different ways.
One thing it does is send out signals for the white blood cells to eat the microorganisms that they take out, allowing them to clear them out of the system. Additionally, it’s the system that causes inflammation, which weakens disease cells.
Finally, when it comes to bacterial threats, it can rupture the membrane protecting the bacteria, which allows the cells to easily attack them. Your lymphatic system is a crucial part of your immune system but is also a component of your circulatory system.
The Lymphatic System
Throughout various blood vessels, the lymphatic system helps them transport certain things through the blood stream. Of course this is important for a variety of reasons, but when it comes to your immune system, this is essentially the highway which transports and directs white blood cells through your blood stream so that they can get to the infection site and do their job.
Bone marrow is a very important component of your body because it’s what produces the white blood cells that your body will use. It additionally creates red blood cells and platelets, which is what hardens and clots up to help stop bleeding.
Finally, there’s the spleen, which helps filter your blood. This removes any microorganisms found in your blood, and it also helps your immune system by creating things like antibodies, which help in the fight against diseases.
How Does Your Immune System Protect You?
Many people are aware of what your immune system does, because it’s essentially in the name. It provides the rest of your body with immunity to things like diseases and illnesses.
However, a crucial part of understanding things is not just knowing what they do, but also how they do it. Many people don’t have a clear idea of how exactly their immune systems are helping you stave off viruses, but it’s an important part of understanding your own reactions to illness and what your body needs to keep protecting itself.
First Step: Fever
One of the most common things that you’ll find your immune system doing to protect you is giving you a fever. While most people associate fevers with being a bad thing, minor fevers can actually help you.
Your body will raise its temperature in order to kill off the virus in your body, which can’t survive well under higher temperatures. Higher fevers can be quite dangerous still, so keep track of your temperature in case it gets too high.
White Blood Cells
Another response your body has to foreign bodies is the use of white blood cells. White blood cells are sort of the enforcers of your body, taking out any kinds of harmful microorganisms that it finds.
When you get sick, some white blood cells will attach themselves to the organisms to weaken them, while others will attack them directly to try to kill them off. These cells will then learn about the type of organisms they fought off, and that’s how you build up an immunity in the future.
You might find that one uncomfortable symptom of getting sick is that you might have certain parts of your body get inflamed. Inflammation is uncomfortable and annoying, and might be a sign of an infection, but it’s also a part of your body’s immune system.
When bacteria enters your body, it will travel through your blood vessels in order to spread. By inflaming portions of your body, you’re able to constrict the blood vessels in that area, making it more difficult for the infection to spread.
Additionally, the inflammation alerts your white blood cells that there is an infection, making the response much quicker to try to get rid of it. While many of your body’s reactions to illnesses might be annoying, uncomfortable, and gross, it can certainly benefit you in the long run.
It’s important to keep your immune system well maintained so that it can continue to keep up these functions to prevent serious illness. It’s also good to understand this during this time of fear and stress about the virus. Taking care of yourself is one thing that you can control and may help you deal with the situation better.
This month, there will be more posts about the immune system. Also, there is a free ebook below about weight loss and the immune system.
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This article provides general information and discussion about health and related subjects. The information and other content provided in this article, or in any linked materials, are not intended and should not be construed as medical advice. Consult your own physician for any medical issues that you may be having.