What Factors Can Upset the Immune Balance?
The immune system is incredibly complex, and it involves many types of blood cells and organs, such as antibodies, immune cells, and lymph nodes, just to name a few. When any of the organs or blood cells are damaged or otherwise affected, the entire immune system may become more susceptible to infection.
Genetic abnormalities, aging, lifesaving medical interventions like organ transplants, medical conditions, some medications and even things like nutrient deficiencies, bad habits (smoking, drinking, sedentary lifestyle), pollution, stress and a lack of sleep can all take a toll on the immune system.
This makes nearly all of us susceptible to immune imbalances, and at times like these when immune health is a priority, we must be aware of the signs that point to immune problems.
Below we list 8 such common and yet often overlooked signs that may point to an immune imbalance:
1. Cold Hands and Feet
One's fingers and toes are typically the first to show a problem with blood vessels, as they are mainly supplied by tiny capillaries that can spasm, become inflamed or clogged more easily than larger blood vessels. When exposed to cold temperatures, you can feel like your fingers, toes, and more rarely nose and ears, may become cold much quicker.
In some cases, when the spasm of the vessels limits blood supply to those areas significantly, the skin may even change color to blue and white - a condition known as Raynaud's syndrome. When you return to a warmer environment and the blood supply is restored, the skin in the affected area may become painful and red.
2. Digestive Issues
Our gut microbiome, or the collection of bacteria that live in our gut, is firmly linked to our immune health, as is our nutrition, which is why we often talk of things like "immune-boosting foods" or vitamins and minerals that help our immunity. In fact, a 2018 study suggests that improving the gut microbiome may lead to novel treatments of serious autoimmune conditions, allergies, inflammatory conditions and even be a novel immune therapy for certain cancers.
If you observe that your normal digestion has slowed down, you have lost your appetite, have abdominal cramps or experience diarrhea that persists for two weeks or more, it can point to an immune issue.
3. Aching Joints
Achy joints, too, can point to an underlying immune imbalance. As a matter of fact, the immune system is nearly always worsening joint pain, be it because it is sending immune cells to fight the cause of inflammation of the joints, or because it is malfunctioning, as in rheumatoid arthritis when immune cells suddenly start attacking the lining of the joints.
As a result of the immune issue, your joints become inflamed, and you will experience pain, as well as a loss of mobility and flexibility in the joints. The skin in the area may also be tender to the touch and warm, and symptoms may be worse in the morning.
4. Chronic Fatigue
If you're healthy overall, but keep feeling tired and down, no matter how much sleep you get, it might be because something has gone awry with your immune health. You may even experience flu-like symptoms, such as occasional joint and muscle aches, without having a cold or the flu.
This condition is called Chronic fatigue syndrome (CFS), and recent research suggests that an overactive immune system or a chronic viral infection may be causing the symptoms of the CFS. It also needs noting that women in their 40's and 50's are disproportionately more likely to be affected by the condition than other populations.
5. Recurrent Colds and Other Infections
This might seem obvious, but one of the clearest signs that you might be suffering from an immune imbalance is that you're more susceptible to colds and the flu than others. Recurrent fungal infections, such as yeast infections and nail issues, as well as frequent complications of the cold and flu-like sinusitis, tonsillitis, and ear infections are also common signs of a compromised immune system.
6. Trouble Swallowing
Have you ever felt a knot in your throat while swallowing a bite of food or a sip of some drink? Feeling that from time to time, especially when you truly had to swallow a bigger bite than usual is normal, but if that is a frequent reaction, it might point to an issue.
Some people also find that they feel like the food is stuck in their chest, and typically, both of the symptoms we mentioned can be indicative of a weakened or inflamed esophagus, as well as a possible muscle spasm of the esophagus.
7. Frequent Headaches
Few people know that an immune issue may be the cause of unexplained headaches, but medical studies have found a link between immune issues, such as vasculitis - the inflammation of blood vessels, since the late 1970s. Seasonal allergies, which occur as a result of an overactive immune system, have also been implicated in causing headaches since many seasonal allergy sufferers tend to experience more headaches during an allergy flareup.
8. A Mild Fever
Many of you will know that a fever is one of the tools our immune systems use to kill pathogens. This is because many viruses and bacteria can only survive at a very specific temperature range, and by raising the body temperature, the immune system is turning our bodies into an inhabitable environment for these germs.
A slight fever is a fever that persists for at least 24 hours and is within the range of 98.6°F (37°C) - 100.4°F (38°C). If you observe that you have a low-grade fever frequently, it may point to an immune issue.
Finding it Difficult to Tell if Your Immunity Is at Risk? Here Is a QUICK Solution
If you feel like you read through this article, but you still can't certainly determine the status of your immune system, it's completely understandable, as many different conditions can sometimes manifest themselves through the same symptoms, which is why the information we provided above is meant to raise awareness of a potential issue and inform you rather than diagnosing you.
In fact, the ONLY confident and objective way to learn about your individual immune health is through a lab test, and we found an excellent and thorough one that you can take from the comfort of your home even now during mass quarantines and lockdowns.
The Immune+ Test by BEWELLMED is an online service that measures mineral deficiencies and possible excessive toxins in your system that can point to an immune imbalance. The test has a number of advantages. First of all, it's just one simple test that can help you identify the cause of your personal immune issues. The test is also non-invasive, it can be conducted from your home, and you will be thoroughly guided by Bewellmed consultants from A to Z. Upon receiving your results, they will even explain what the results mean and guide you through the nutritional adjustments that will help you regain control of your immune health and know-how to maintain a perfectly-balanced immune system at all times.