With the Coronavirus on everyone’s mind we are hearing a lot about people who are most susceptible and at risk of being attacked by the virus. There have been many theories, but since the beginning we have been told that the older generation and people with compromised immune systems are most at risk. But what is your immune system, what does it do, and how can you improve it? Over the next several Fridays, we will look at the answers to these questions.
While fully understanding the different systems of your body can be difficult, it’s a bit easier if you break them down into their individual components. When it comes to your immune system, there are five main parts of it that you need to know about. All of these parts work together to help your immune system keep you healthy and free of any serious illnesses.
The first part of your immune system to understand, and arguably one of the most important, is your white blood cells. These cells are the troopers in your body, responding directly to anything that it perceives as a threat in order to take it out and prevent it from doing any additional damage. There are two main types, each of which has a different function when attacking foreign cells. One type will attach on to the opposing cell and weaken it, while the other will attack it directly in an attempt to kill it off.
The part of your immune system that helps the white blood cells is the complement system. This system basically boosts the effectiveness of the white blood cells in a few different ways. One thing it does is send out signals for the white blood cells to eat the microorganisms that they take out, allowing them to clear them out of the system. Additionally, it’s the system that causes inflammation, which weakens disease cells.
Finally, when it comes to bacterial threats, it can rupture the membrane protecting it, which allows the cells to easily attack them. Your lymphatic system is a crucial part of your immune system, but is also a component of your circulatory system. Throughout various blood vessels, the lymphatic system helps them transport certain things through the bloodstream. Of course this is important for a variety of reasons, but when it comes to your immune system, this is essentially the highway which transports and directs white blood cells through your bloodstream so that they can get to the infection site and do their job.
Bone marrow is a very important component of your body because it’s what produces the white blood cells that your body will use. It additionally creates red blood cells and platelets, which is what hardens and clots up to help stop bleeding.
Finally, there’s the spleen, which helps filter your blood. This removes any microorganisms found in your blood, and it also helps your immune system by creating things like antibodies, which help in the fight against diseases.