Are you feeling rundown or catching colds all the time? It could mean your immune system is weak and it’s leaving you exposed to infections and other problems. Several conditions can cause a weak immune system from lifestyle decisions, illnesses and medications. Fortunately, in many cases, there are steps you can take to strengthen the system and make it function as it should to keep you healthy and full of energy. Here are seven signs that your immune system has weakened and what you can do about it.
- High-Stress Levels. Stress is a part of life, but when it gets too high, it can negatively affect your health including weakening your immune system. High amounts of stress causes inflammation in the body. This leads to lymphocytes and white blood cells decreasing in the bloodstream. Lymphocytes and white blood cells help fight infections, diseases and tumors.
- Frequent Colds. Getting more than a couple of colds per year is a sign your body is having a hard time fighting off the bacteria and viruses that cause colds.
- Slow Healing Time. The ability of red blood cells to build new tissue is hampered by a weak immune system and wounds will take longer than normal to heal.
- Sinus/Ears Congestion. An immune deficiency disorder can cause an increase in sinus and ear infections.
- Stomach Problems. Stomach issues like cramping, gas, diarrhea and constipation can happen when the good bacteria in the digestive tract are replaced by bad ones.
- Aching Muscles and Joints. A lowering of white blood cells can lead to inflammation in muscles and joints.
- Always Tired. Chronic and frequent fatigue is a sign you might have anemia or endocrine issues caused by a weak immune response to external factors.
Methods to Improve Immune System
There are steps you can take to improve your immune response.
Exercise not only reduces stress levels but also increases the level of immune cells circulating in the body. As an added bonus, the immune cells often keep circulating for several hours after you stop exercising.
Eat a Healthy Diet
Immune cells need essential nutrients to function well. This includes ensuring you have the right amount of antioxidants and vitamins A, C, D and E, among other nutrients. You need to make sure you are eating plenty of foods like legumes, citrus fruits, green leafy plants, poultry and shellfish.
Keep Up to Date with Your Vaccines
This is very important, especially as you age. Vaccines provide extra support to help your immunity respond to certain infections.
Get a Good Night’s Sleep
Sleep gives your body down time to rest and produce protein cells, called cytokines, and white blood cells that help fight infections.
Wash Your Hands
Frequently washing your hands with soap and warm water helps to remove bacteria and viruses that cause colds and infections.
A weakened immune system does lead to increases in health issues, but it is also something most people can manage on their own.