Diseases That Affect the Immune System

Diseases That Affect the Immune System
Diseases That Affect the Immune System (Image: flickr-stock photo)

The immune system is our safety net from germs and viruses. This complex defense system is designed to keep us alive. If we didn't have an immune system we would quickly die from the overabundance of bacteria and viruses which would completely take over the human body. The majority of our immune system is located within the digestive tract. People who suffer from poor digestion or other digestive disorders are often hit the hardest when they encounter a foreign organism. Our immune function comes from a combination of tissues, organs, proteins and vital cells.

Autoimmune Diseases

There are a variety of autoimmune diseases that weaken the immune system. An autoimmune disease is the result of the body attacking itself. Some cells within the body become hyperactive and don't function as they should. The most common autoimmune diseases are rheumatoid arthritis, multiple sclerosis and Chron's disease. Doctors are not sure what actually causes autoimmune diseases, but it is thought that environmental and hereditary factors play a role.


Diabetes is a metabolic disorder that affects how the body uses food for energy due to insulin resistance. Diabetes affects the metabolism as well as the immune system. The disease causes the immune system to destroy insulin producing cells within the pancreas. The immune response is also much lower in people who have diabetes so they are more susceptible to getting infections that could result in the loss of a limb.


AIDS, also known as acquired immunodeficiency syndrome, is one of the most common diseases that affect the immune system. This horrible disease makes the body's defenses weaker over time. Before AIDs takes full effect, a person will first have HIV, which is the start of the progressively devastating disease. People who have the disease may even die from infectious viruses rather than the disease itself, because of their severely weak immune function. Most people know that HIV is transmitted by having unprotected sex or coming in contact with infected blood.

Hepatitis C

Hepatitis C is a virus that attacks the liver cells. The virus will rapidly multiply within the liver, causing inflammation and damage. Hepatitis C affects the immune system, causing serious liver damage leading to scarring of the liver. The virus causes the immune system to break down, making the affected person more susceptible to other infectious diseases.

Kidney Disease

Kidneys filter the blood of impurities, toxins and excess vitamins. When the kidneys are not functioning properly due to kidney disease, more toxins circulate within the blood. The excess toxins affect the immune system, making a person more tired and sluggish. A person with kidney disease will become sick more often because the immune system is weakened.

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