How Your Immune System Works
Picture your body’s own little army of troops. Different cells with different colors, all armed and ready to defend your body. They wear different hats and play different roles, as they each have their own specialty. They patrol your body and travel through your bloodstream, keeping on eye out for possible threats or troublemakers.
When an intruder is detected, your soldiers attack with ferocity and determination. They race to deploy more troops in their effort to defeat or kick out the unwanted visitor. They fight to keep you healthy. Sometimes the invader is too powerful, and your troops are temporarily overrun. Sometimes your troops get overwhelmed, and need to revisit and review their initial strategy or come up with a different battle plan. However, your personal fighting force continues to defend you until the enemy is defeated or until their last stand.
These troops are your white blood cells and they are part of your immune system. They are fiercely loyal and solely dedicated to your protection, prepared to keep you healthy by any means necessary, even if it means sacrificing themselves. Your immune system is your body’s built-in defense system, beautiful and powerful. It is your bodyguard, always looking out for you, always having your back.
Your immune system is strong and complicated, and sometimes confusing to understand. That is why I have broken it down for you, so you can fully understand and appreciate the natural mechanisms and processes behind your body’s protection.
Our Immune System
Living in this current day and age, keeping healthy has become one of our main focuses and priorities. We are more aware of the possible germs around us and the potential dangers they could pose to us. As a community, we have become more health and hygiene conscious, and take the extra steps to practice illness prevention techniques and methods.
And while knowing and taking the steps to prevent illnesses can be helpful, it is important to understand the mechanisms behind your body’s defense system. Your body uses your immune system to protect you from germs and help fight illnesses. Understanding the processes of your immune system, its role, and how it works in your body can help you identify techniques to better support it in its efforts to protect you from harm.
What Does Your Immune System Do
You can think of your immune system as your body’s own personal security system. It is meant to protect and defend you from harmful germs or illnesses. Your immune system is composed of a network of cells and proteins that work together to form the formidable defense system that helps keep you healthy.
The main soldiers of your immune system are your white blood cells, also known as leukocytes. These white blood cells are your body’s first line of defense and come in many shapes and types that are specialized in dealing with infectious intruders in different ways. Some white blood cells are in charge of chewing up these invading organisms, while others work to help the body recognize and remember the different types of invaders to note for the future. The cells and proteins that make up your immune system work together to combat outside intruders such as bacteria, viruses, fungi, and chemical toxins.
How Does Your Immune System Work
Like any effective defense system, the first step your immune system takes is to identify the threat. For your immune system to work properly, it would need to differentiate which organisms entering the body could be harmful, and which could be beneficial. Without first identifying the threat, your body would never be able to determine what and what not to attack.
In the event that the foreign organism turns out to be potentially harmful, your body sounds the alarm and fully activates its immune system. That is when your body deploys its fighting troops, also known as your white blood cells, to find and attack the unwelcome intruder. Detecting the proteins on the surfaces of these invaders, the immune system officially identifies the foreign organisms as antigens
White Blood Cells
After the identification phase, the immune system’s fighting phase begins. Your bone marrow, the spongy tissue found inside your bone, starts producing more white blood cells to fight the infection. Your white blood cells then travel throughout your bloodstream, on the hunt for the invading antigens.
As mentioned previously, white blood cells come in different types and forms that have different roles in the immune system. Some white blood cells are specialized in responding to infections caused by parasites, while others can be more responsive to allergic or inflammatory reactions. Other white blood cells are responsible for the identification process, as they specialize in recognizing and determining the attack plan so the body knows how to deal with and combat this type of invader if it happens to enter your body again in the future, developing an adaptive immunity.
Some types of white blood cells produce antibodies, protective proteins that are produced in response to the presence of antigens. These antibodies are deployed by the white blood cells as weapons that can latch on to antigens and remove or destroy them, making them unable to harm your body further.
These antibodies can remain in your blood circulation for an extended period of time, providing your body with an extended immunity. This is particularly useful as if the same antigen were to enter and try to invade your body again, the antibodies would immediately attack and eliminate the foreign organism before your body has the chance to feel or really register the infection or sickness.
Understanding Your Immune System
It is important to understand the inner workings of your immune system. Understanding the processes and mechanisms helps you develop a deeper connection and appreciation for your body and all that it does for you. Learning more about your body can help you figure out the best ways to nurture and treat it, so that you can live a happy and healthy life.