Signs of a Weakened Immune System

December 2020

The immune system protects our bodies from infection. When our immune system is weakened or compromised, it can lead to more infections and possibly more severe symptoms. Certain conditions can cause a compromised immune system. Conditions include HIV, certain types of cancer, malnutrition, and viral hepatitis.

The primary symptom of a weakened immune system is susceptibility to infections. People with weakened immune systems often get certain infections more frequently than those with a stronger immune system. These infections include pneumonia, meningitis, bronchitis, and skin infections. They may also experience:

• Autoimmune disorders

• Inflammation of the internal organs

• Blood disorders or abnormalities like anemia

• Digestive issues, including loss of appetite, diarrhea, and abdominal cramping

• Growth and developmental delays, in infants and children.

What are the signs of a weakened immune system?

Your stress level is sky high.

According to the American Psychological Association, long-term stress weakens the responses of the immune system. Stress lowers the body's white blood cells which help fight off infections.

You always have a cold.

Penn Medicine states that it is normal for adults to experience 2-3 colds each year with most people bouncing back in 7-10 days. It takes approximately 3-4 days for antibodies to develop to fight off the virus. If you are constantly catching colds or have a cold that won't seem to run its course, then your immune system may be struggling to keep up.

You have lots of tummy troubles.

If you have frequent diarrhea, gas, or constipation, your immune system may be compromised. Research in the peer-reviewed journal, Gut Microbes, shows that nearly 70% of our immune system is located in the digestive tract. The beneficial bacteria and microorganisms that live within our digestive tract help defend the gut from infection.

Your wounds are slow to heal.

After a burn, scrape, or cut, the body works to protect the wound by sending nutrient-rich blood to the injury to help regenerate new skin. This process depends on healthy immune cells. However, if the immune system is weakened, your skin can't regenerate, and wounds will take longer to heal.

You have frequent infections.

If you are constantly battling infections, your immune system is trying to tell you something. The Academy of Allergy, Asthma, and Immunology reports that signs of a weakened immune system in adults include:

• Having more than 4 ear infections in 1 year

• Developing pneumonia twice during a 1 year period

• Suffering from chronic sinusitis or more than 3 episodes of bacterial sinusitis in a year

• Needing more than 2 courses of antibiotics in a year.

• Having more than 4 ear infections inHaving more than 4 ear infections in

1 year

You feel tired all the time.

If you overexert yourself for an extended period of time, you're bound to feel sluggish. However, if you're getting enough sleep and still feel exhausted, your immune system is giving you a warning.

When the immune system struggles, so does your energy level. According to a physician at Delancey Internal Medicine, your body conserves energy to fuel the immune system.

Stay tuned for ways to strengthen your immune system in next week’s blog post.