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Thursday, October 25, 2018

Understanding Your Immune System

To understand why and how you may have developed an autoimmune disease, such as myasthenia gravis, you must have an understanding of your immune system in layman terms. This understanding may be instrumental in helping you cope with its many disease symptoms.

According to Western medicine there is no cure, except using drugs to treat its symptoms. However, from my own experience, an understanding of the disease may initiate self-healing over the long haul. Remember, more than two decades ago, I was taking many steroid medication, but now I am 100 percent drug free.

The Immune System

“In recent years science has learned that the human immune system is much more complicated than we thought.” Dr. Philip F. Incao, M.D.

First and foremost, you must have an understanding of your immune system in simple layman’s terms:

Antibodies are proteins that protect the human body from disease and disorder, and they are like soldiers in an army.

Antigens are foreign invaders in the form of bacteria and viruses that attack the human body.

T-cells, a type of white blood cells originating from the bone marrow, either control and regulate the immune response or directly attack infected cells.

The human immune system is complicated in that it affects the whole body system in many different ways. As such, it can heal you but it can also harm you. It protects your cells and maintains your overall health through its production of antibodies (specific proteins) to fight against antigens (invaders to your body system). However, an impaired or dysfunctional immune system can adversely affect your overall health because it is the common denominator of more than one hundred autoimmune diseases.

The immune system is basically made up of four parts, and each part has its unique functions; it involves the whole human body, not just certain body organs and tissues. The complexity of the human immune system is a testament to the ingenuity and mystery of human creation.

The basic function of the immune system is to warn the body of imminent dangers of viruses and bacteria (unfortunately, many of us just ignore these tale-telling signs, or simply fail to decipher these subtle body messages warning us of an imminent disease). In addition, the immune system “remembers” these foreign invaders or antigens (the intention is to identify similar invaders in future for better disease-prevention purpose). Furthermore, the white blood cells in the immune system produce antibodies, which are chemicals that attach to and attack specific antigens. These white blood cells also send “messages” that will cause “inflammation” in response to an injury or antigen, and thus instrumental in preventing an infection from spreading elsewhere. In other words, they receive “chemical instructions” to nip the disease or infection in the bud.

In short, the immune system serves different functions of identification, activation, mobilization, and restoration. It is akin to a police department in a city: it recognizes the city’s potential crime scenario, takes strong measures to protect the public, trains the local police force to take appropriate action, and regulates the law and order of the city.

Stephen Lau

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