Immunity is the body’s defense system. It keeps you safe from bacteria, viruses, parasites, and toxins. It is a complex network of organs, cells and proteins. Interestingly, the immune system keeps track of every germ or microbe it has protected your body from so that it can recognize it and destroy it when your body is exposed to the same germ or microbe in future. An immunity test is needed when you suspect that your immunity is compromised, and you are susceptible to infections and diseases. If the immunity test finds out that you are immunocompromised, necessary steps can be taken to ensure that your body’s defense system is adequately shielded in case of an external danger. An immunity test is mostly a blood test. A phlebotomist collects your blood sample and submits it to the lab and various studies are conducted on the blood.
Your immune system performs the following functions:
Fight disease-causing germs/pathogens such as bacteria, viruses, parasites or fungi; it also removes harmful pathogens from your body.
Recognize and destroy harmful substances in your living environment.
Fight disease-causing changes in the body, such as cancer cells.
Since your email system protects you against a multitude of diseases, it is important that it is working properly. In case you feel that your immunity is compromised, you should go for an immunity test.
The immune system is activated automatically. As soon as it recognizes foreign elements, it triggers its defense mechanism. It mostly recognizes foreign elements in the form of antigens. Antigens are proteins that bacteria, fungi and viruses use to cling to the immune cells using receptors. If your immune system has prior knowledge of these pathogens, it uses this knowledge to destroy them. If it doesn’t recognize the pathogens, it either adapts itself to be able to put up a defense, or it becomes compromised.
If the immune system is compromised, your body becomes susceptible to getting infections or catching diseases fast. The immune system loses the data it has about the pathogens, or it cannot mount up the needed attack.
Symptoms that you have a weak immune system or if your immune system has been compromised:
You have a perpetual cold.
You easily get stomach infections.
Your wounds don’t heal easily.
You are extremely stressed out.
You frequently get infected.
You feel tired all the time.
Your immune system uses different types of antibodies. These antibodies are called immunoglobulins. There are five types of immunoglobulins that your immune system uses.
The immunity test may check for the presence of these immunoglobulins. They are
Immunoglobulin M (IgM) – This is your body’s short-term defense. These antibodies are activated the first time a pathogen is detected. They go on increasing for a few weeks and then begin to decline as the level of IgG increases.
Immunoglobulin G (IgG) – They constitute 70-80% of immunoglobulins in your blood. They give your body a long-term protection because they store the data of all the antigens they have dealt with so far. In a healthy immune system, sufficient IgG is produced to prevent re-infection.
Immunoglobulin E (IgE) – These immunoglobulins protect you against allergies and allergy-related diseases with parasitic infections.
Immunoglobulin A (IgA) – They comprise 15% of total immunoglobulins in your blood. They are also found in your saliva, tears, respiratory and gastric secretions, and breast milk. They mostly provide protection to your respiratory tract and the gastrointestinal tract.
Immunoglobulin D (IgD) – The information about this category of antibodies still remains obscure and hence, normally these are not included in your immunity tests.
Frequently Asked Questions
Can immunity be improved with lifestyle?
Your immunity is definitely improved with your lifestyle. Make sure that you get enough sleep every day. A well-rested body has a strong immune system. Consume whole plant foods with antioxidants. Switch to healthy fats and avoid junk food as much as possible. Limit your consumption of added sugars and as much as possible, use natural sugar. Exercise every day. You should control your stress levels. Increase your friend circle as it has been observed that people with a vibrant friend circle have a better immunity. Drink lots of water because it washes the toxins away and keeps your body hydrated.
How do I know that my immune system is compromised?
There are multiple symptoms that tell you that your immunity is compromised. You may easily get infected. You feel tired all the time. You catch a cold almost every week. You may also get stomach infections. If you are falling sick and getting infections more than you normally do, your immune system is compromised and you should definitely go for an immunity test.
How is an immunity test done?
Once you fix up an appointment, a phlebotomist may visit your place and draw a blood sample from your arm. It is a completely harmless and fast procedure. After collecting the blood sample, it will be submitted to the lab. The levels of various immunoglobulins will be checked in your blood sample. Certain tests may also check your kidneys, iron levels and blood sugar levels.
If one’s immunity is compromised, can it be improved?
Yes, immunity can be improved even when it has been compromised. Immunity is compromised mainly because certain proteins or immunoglobulins have reduced in their number or quantity. If you can notch them up with healthy food and a healthy lifestyle, sometimes your immunity can bounce back within 10 days. But it is always safer to get a proper immunity test under the supervision of your doctor.
What can cause a compromised immunity?
Immunity can be compromised due to many factors such as ongoing medical treatment, taking medicines, organ or bone marrow transplant, ageing, smoking, unhealthy lifestyle and eating, or any other chronic disease. It can also be compromised due to HIV and AIDS.