In the 1900s, the major causes of death were infections, tuberculosis, flu and pneumonia. But in the present times, these are simply considered common illnesses that can be cured easily with medications. Thanks to the huge improvements in medicine, sanitation, and nutrition. But even though medical and health advancements have made people live longer these days, from average of 47 years in 1900s to 70 years in 2010, the modern lifestyle paved way to the drastic increase in preventable diseases as well as immune system disorders. The reason? Modern food, super-hygiene, sedentary lifestyles, environment, and lack of probiotics.
Disorders of the Immune System
There are many health problems associated with having a weak immune system. Among the most common are allergic diseases such as asthma, eczema, and allergic rhinitis. More serious ones include lupus and rheumatoid arthritis which are related to antibody deficiencies. Immunodeficiencies occur when the immune system is not as strong as normal, thus, compromising the body’s ability to fight infections and diseases. Generally, immunodeficiencies are classified into two categories – primary and secondary. Primary examples include X-linked agammaglobulinemia (XLA), and severe combined immunodeficiency (SCID). Secondary examples are AIDS, cancers of the immune system like leukemia, immune-complex diseases, like viral hepatitis, and multiple myeloma.
Meanwhile, autoimmunity is caused by hyperactive immune system and characterized by the body attacking tissues as if they were foreign bodies. Examples of autoimmune diseases are rheumatoid arthritis, Type 1 diabetes, and systemic lupus erythematosus.
Modern Causes of Immunity Disorders
The immune system makes up for the body’s major line of defense against diseases and infections. It is composed of cells, tissues, and organs that work together to shield the body from illness-causing germs and bacteria. Without a good-functioning immune system, a person is likely to get sick all the time or develop extreme health conditions that can be difficult to treat.
The impact of lifestyle on health has been a center of many scientific studies over the decades. In a 2015 research, it was found that 60% of an individual’s health and quality of life is affected by his lifestyle. According to the researchers, factors like malnutrition, smoking and substance abuse, unhealthy diet, stress, etc pose a major challenge to people’s health. This is augmented by the emerging new technologies like the internet and virtual communications platforms that threatens the physical and mental health of individuals.
Modern food – the human diet has undergone drastic changes over the years. With the rising demand for “instant”, tasty food, people eat less of whole, natural food and more of ready-to-go meals filled with artificial flavors, salt, seasonings and preservatives. In a review of modern diet and its impact on human health, researchers concluded that the way people consume food these days bring several adverse effects on their health. Processed food, red meat, fried foods, soda, and sugary snacks are considered the top five foods that destroy immune system because they promote chronic inflammation.
Smoking and substance abuse – substance abuse can weaken one’s immune system. Nicotine, drugs, cocaine, and other related substances can leave the body dehydrated and exhausted, making it easier for infections to thrive. They also cause considerable damage to many systems, including the immune system.
Sedentary lifestyle – there’s a wealth of scientific evidence suggesting that inactivity weakens the body’s immunity. A 2012 study appearing in the American Journal of Preventive Medicine found that a sedentary lifestyle is tied to an increased risk for premature death. It is tied to impaired immune system, chronic illness, and inflammation.
Stress – there’s no doubt, people are more stressed these days than they were decades ago and that’s due to the demand of work, personal responsibilities, economy, etc. Chronic stress causes the brain to overproduce cortisol – the hormone that impairs the function of infection-fighting T cells. Too much technology causes stress too in plenty of ways. These include disruption of sleep, exposure to blue light, and promoting a sedentary lifestyle.
A Silent Killer
Having a poor immune system is a major health to one’s health because it slowly and silently attacks the internal organs. At the early stages, damage to these organs may not have associated symptoms yet. However, through a high-quality ultrasound imaging procedure, it can already be detected. Through this non-invasive technique, doctors can check the size and shape of many organs, such as the pancreas and liver using appropriate medical gel, and detect abnormalities among them, including the presence of cysts and tumors. All these are important for early detection and treatment of many chronic diseases, including cancers.
Preventing Immunity Disorders through Lifestyle Change
The sad reality is that many of the immunity disorders and other health problems people face today are due to controllable factors, particularly human lifestyle. Thus, committing to a healthier, more active lifestyle with focus on proper nutrition, balanced diet, and balanced physical and mental health, is the key to strengthening the immune system and protecting the body from various diseases.