When you think about a compromised immune system, what comes to mind?
Many people might imagine coming down with frequent illnesses or colds.
The truth is, your immune system is responsible for a lot more than just warding off physical disease.
Do you know which factors to avoid for immune health? Does alcohol weaken the immune system?
Here are all the signs of a weakened immune system to watch out for and how to fix it.
Silent Signs of a Weakened Immune System
A compromised immune system can manifest itself throughout the body in several ways.
Yes, colds and the flu are part of it, but your immune system has a lot of other jobs to do.
The hidden signs of a weakened immune system may include:
- Digestive problems like diarrhea, ulcers, gas, bloating, cramping, or constipation.
- Low energy or feeling tired all the time.
- Dry and itchy skin or eczema.
- Puffy face or water retention.
- Aches and pains.
- Chronic allergies.
- Mental health issues like depression, anxiety, or psychosis.
- Autoimmune condition flare ups such as lupus, multiple sclerosis, type 1 diabetes, or rheumatoid arthritis.
If your immune system isn’t functioning properly, this can trigger inflammation throughout the entire body. That’s why a compromised immune system can express itself through mental health symptoms, chronic pain, or skin conditions.
Factors That Reduce Immune Function
Your immune system is a drama queen. It requires a healthy and balanced environment at all times to function properly.
You need to give it the right fuel while avoiding dangerous substances and environmental factors.
Think about your daily routine and take these causes into consideration:
- Insomnia or an otherwise poor sleep schedule. (Too much or too little.)
- Exposure to large groups of people on a regular basis. People carry disease and germs.
- Lack of physical activity.
- A poor diet filled with high levels of sodium, cholesterol, and refined sugar.
- In some cases, antibiotics cannot be avoided. Try to avoid using them for minor illness and colds. Always discuss options with a doctor.
Does Alcohol Weaken the Immune System?
Many people ask “does alcohol weaken the immune system?” The short answer is yes, absolutely.
Alcohol drastically suppresses your immune system on many levels by reducing your white blood cells’ ability to fight infection and damaging vital tissues.
How Stress Weakens the Immune System
Other than alcohol, nothing weakens your immune system quite like stress. There is actually an entire field of study dedicated to how stress weakens the immune system called psychoneuroimmunology.
Watch out for these factors for how stress weakens the immune system throughout your day-to-day life:
- You’re always irritable, pessimistic, or bottle up your emotions.
- You don’t have a hobby or outlet for relieving stress.
- You’re constantly thinking about money or financial trouble.
- You’re under a ton of pressure from work, friends, or family members.
- You’re always on-the-go.
- You have to deal with a long or stressful commute.
- You take everything personally or you can’t let things go.
How to Balance Your Immune System Naturally
Your first goal should be to remove factors causing stress and inflammation. It’s impossible to avoid stress from money issues or family members, but you can control how you handle that stress.
Changing your cognitive function isn’t easy, but learning how to cope with stress can vastly improve your physical and mental health in the long run.
If you aren’t sure where to start, here are a few options:
- Make physical exercise a part of your daily routine – every little bit helps.
- Try a fun and new activity like swimming, cycling, or group fitness.
- Yoga or tai chi.
- Fill your diet with antioxidants from dark berries, leafy greens, and healthy fats.
- Find an outlet for relieving stress. Learn something new like a craft or language.
- Consider a supplement for improving focus and mental wellbeing.
Always talk to a doctor before beginning any new diet, supplement, or exercise routine. Many supplements can interact with other medications or conditions.
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