Immunity: line of defense
Everything that does not kill us makes us stronger. Approximately according to this scheme, the human immune system operates.
The immune system is very complex and represents the second protective line of the body (the first protective line is the skin and mucous membranes that prevent the penetration of infection into the body).
The main function of the immune system is to recognize “friends” and “foes”. “Own” - normal cells of the body and their components, that of which the body of each of us consists. “Aliens” - everything else: viruses, bacteria, their own cells, but changed for various reasons. The function of the immune system is to recognize, neutralize and remove them from the body, and also to remember that the next time this “alien” enters the body, it can be neutralized and eliminated much faster. This is the immunity to infectious diseases.
The immune system in the human body is not located in any particular place. Its main function is performed by cells. Some of their varieties recognize the "enemy", which must be destroyed, while others give the command to develop special proteins (antibodies) that neutralize it. There are also special cells that remove the remains of destroyed bacteria and viruses and transmit commands in different places of the body. All these cells are always ready for action. They either circulate with blood throughout the body or are located in the immune system: the spleen and lymph nodes. Groups of such cells are in the intestines, bronchi, liver
They are produced, like blood cells, in the bone marrow, and are "trained" in the thymus (thymus gland located in the brain). Such a complex system in the body, of course, cannot work by itself. It is closely related to the functions of other important systems of our body, primarily the nervous and endocrine.
IMMUNO CORRECTORS act pointwise on any specific broken link in the immune system (T-lymphocytes, B-lymphocytes, etc.). IMMUNOMODULATORS enhance the functional activity of the immune system as a whole. Each of them selectively affects one link of immunity. IMMUNOSTIMULATORS enhance the body's immune response. They affect the body as a whole, and not on any part of the immune system separately and are used only for the prevention of infectious diseases.
Improper nutrition, the effects of household chemicals, stress, failure to comply with the regimen, insomnia, chronic diseases, frequent bacterial infections, uncontrolled intake of drugs, including vitamins, excessive vaccination (not according to the individual schedule, but according to the plan in the clinic) undermine our immune system. As a result, a weakened body does not always recognize the “enemy” and ceases to resist viruses.
The action of the external environment on any organism is always hostile and is aimed at damage - experts say. But without this press, the immune system cannot develop, properly respond.
Is there a miracle cure?
Immunotropic drugs as a class do not exist in every country, our experts say. Immunology as a science is a little more than half a century, and it is in the stage of accumulation of material, and therefore the use of drugs aimed at immune cells can be considered a clinical experiment. Of course, the immunomodulators sold in our pharmacies are nontoxic and in the worst case they simply won’t help, and if circumstances are good, they will even bring some benefit. However, this is not a reason to get involved in them. With excessive stimulation of the immune system, exhaustion of the body's reserves is possible.
That is why such drugs should be selected only with the attending physician, and certainly not with the pharmacist (unfortunately, in most modern pharmacies, it’s not medical staff who work, but sellers, who also receive percentages of sales).
Equally careful should be applied to the so-called natural immunomodulators, or dietary supplements. In the same way, lactobacilli (certainly having a positive effect on the local immunity of the gastrointestinal tract) will not help you avoid, for example, flu or acute respiratory infections.
ORGANISM IN THE CAPTURE OF SELF-DECEPTION
AUTOIMMUNE DISEASES (rheumatoid arthritis, some types of allergies, psoriasis, systemic scleroderma, Hashimoto's thyroiditis ...) - in which the body is "deceived" and begins to perceive its own cells as strangers and fight with them - a real mystery for doctors. There is still no consensus on what exactly causes a similar malfunction in the immune system.
Unfortunately, there are very few specialists who are able to correctly diagnose autoimmune diseases in Russia. Treatment as such is reduced to anti-inflammatory drugs that only reduce inflammation, and do not eliminate its cause, hormone therapy courses, and drugs that suppress the immune system. In general, it is destructive for the body, but so far scientists have not come up with anything else ... In Germany and Israel, such diseases are still not cured, but experts have learned to control them at the development stage and maintain the body with basic therapy, which greatly facilitates the patient’s life.
There are fans of "extreme" ways of healing - vegetarians, raw foodists, winter swimming enthusiasts
But you can not argue that these shock methods of strengthening immunity are right for you. So, many doctors are very skeptical about vegetarianism in Russia. In our strip, this is too expensive a pleasure - residents of the tropics, but not Moscow, or, for example, Novosibirsk, can afford this type of food. As for raw food, its physiological nature is not at all justified. It takes too much energy to digest raw food, and this way of eating is contraindicated for allergy sufferers, as well as people suffering from pancreatitis, diseases of the pancreas, gall bladder, colitis and ulcers.
Not all so clear and with winter swimming. Short-term cooling really activates the immune system. But excessive exposure to cold (enough extra 15 minutes) causes the opposite reaction. That is why it is only necessary to engage in hardening under the supervision of a doctor and not “experienced” acquaintances - their experience can be dangerous for you. A lot of controversy is going on about the benefits and harms of “therapeutic fasting”. However, as a rule, we do not have enough time or patience even to study all stages of fasting, not just to observe them. Meanwhile, in order for this method to be useful, it is important to enter and exit it correctly. Moreover, even the clothes that you wear during fasting play a role for the healing effect (you should give preference to natural materials) and your physical activity (it should not be too intense and not be absent at all). Well, of course, do not combine fasting with work. This will only undermine your physical and mental health, and not strengthen it.
OUR EXPERT Svetlana GORBUNOVA, Consulting Doctor, Independent Laboratory "INVITRO"
DIAGNOSTICS OF THE IMMUNE SYSTEM it always starts with a clinical blood test to determine the leukocyte formula - calculating the percentage of different types of leukocytes - lymphocytes, granulocytes (neutrophil eosinophils, basophils), monocytes. And further tactics are determined by the attending physician. If changes in the leukocyte formula are detected, then immunological tests of the first level are prescribed - an immunogram is performed. This is an assessment of the body’s immune status when, using various methods, the main indicators of the human immune system are studied - more than 20 of them.
At this stage, the most common indicators are assessed, allowing to identify gross violations of the immune system. If no deviations are found, fine! And if changes are detected, it is recommended to perform immunological tests of the second stage. They are used to diagnose immune disorders, resolve the issue of appropriate therapy or immunocorrection, and to evaluate treatment outcomes. If several indicators of the immunogram are lower (or maybe even higher) than the normal level, immunologists recommend repeating the study after 2-3 weeks to check whether the changes persisted or if it was a reaction to an external factor.
Take care of the ecology of life
Vitamins, dietary supplements and immunomodulators are just half measures (even if they are prescribed by your doctor). And if you believe that it is enough to drink a course of expensive drugs and you can not worry about your health all year, this is the deepest mistake. In fact, your “best friends” should be a healthy lifestyle (no matter how boring and banal it may sound), physical activity and compliance with the regime (especially with intensive work). Try to minimize the harmful effects of the environment on the immune system.
In addition, everyone (and especially expectant mothers and families with young children) should take the ecology of their life very seriously. Carefully read the labels on household cleaning products and study the ingredients that make up food. The addition of various stabilizers of color, smell and taste to food products is very beneficial for the manufacturer, but for us consumers, these are essentially xenobiotics (that is, compounds that are foreign to the body). It is no coincidence that many of them are ultimately banned. But in general, the less you get involved in various substitutes and stimulants, the better.
You should consult a doctor and think about strengthening immunity if:
• Over the past year, you have had ARVI or ARI more than 4 times.
• You have a low-grade fever for a long time (from 37 to 37.5 ° C).
• You began to worry about chronic or recurring infectious diseases (furunculosis, tonsillitis, pneumonia, otitis media, stomatitis, intestinal infections).
• Over the past year, you have had several relapses of herpes (more than 3 - already an occasion to think).
• You have developed the so-called allergic syndrome (allergic dermatitis, rhinitis, or bronchial asthma).
GIFTS OF NATURE
• GARLIC is called a natural antibiotic, it is widely known that it protects against colds. But is it? Antimicrobial properties have one of the components of garlic - allicin. But its activity appears only at the moment when fresh garlic is crushed or cut. The healing properties of dried garlic or preparations based on it are not scientifically proven.
• ECHINACEA - a flowering plant that actively stimulates the immune system (these properties are confirmed by serious clinical studies). On the basis of Echinacea purpurea, preparations are made, for example, Immunal and Immunal + C.
What do we think of IMMUNITY?
✓ A child is born with undeveloped immunity, and therefore it is necessary to maintain it in the most sterile conditions.
FACT In fact, the baby’s immunity begins to form in the womb. Moreover, the first 6 months of its life, the newborn has the so-called passive immunity (almost equivalent to maternal). With colostrum and breast milk, the baby receives irreplaceable immuno-globulins that populate his sterile intestines and trigger his own immune system. That is why excessive enthusiasm for cleanliness and sterility will prevent the child from forming immunity. Having found other conditions, for example, being at a party or going to kindergarten, he simply will not be able to resist infections.
✓ Immunity to “childhood” diseases is developed for life.
FACT Unfortunately, this is not the case. The presence of antibodies to certain infections does not mean that you cannot transfer them again. So, chickenpox virus can mutate and cause re-infection, only in this case the infection appears as shingles.
✓ Multivitamins enhance immunity.
FACT Uncontrolled intake of multivitamins can adversely affect the immune system. The thing is that there is no universal remedy for everyone. Prescribe vitamins and dietary supplements should only be your doctor (after analysis).