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Innate immunity is also known as nonspecific immunity. It is the natural defenses of the body from the time of birth. Innate immunity can prevent the colonization, entry and spread of microbes.
Adaptive immunity is of two types, naturally acquired and passive immunity. Naturally acquired immunity occurs through contact with a disease causing agent, when the contact is not deliberate. Artificially acquired immunity develops only through deliberate actions such as vaccination. Both naturally and artificially acquired immunity can be further subdivided into active and passive immunity. Passive immunity is acquired through transfer of antibodies or activated T-cells from an immune host, and is short lived. Active immunity is induced in the host itself by an antigen and lasts much longer, sometimes lifelong.
Passive Immunity is ‘borrowed’ from another source and lasts for a short time. For example, antibodies in a mother's breast milk provide the baby with temporary immunity to diseases that the mother has been exposed to earlier. This can help protect the baby against infection during the early years of childhood. Another example is the immunity acquired through blood transfusion in diseases like chronic renal failure or blood cancer or in haemorrhage.
Disorders of the immune system fall into four main categories:
1. Immunodeficiency disorders occur when a part of the immune system is unable to function properly. It may be primary, when an individual is born with an immunodeficiency; or acquired, when certain conditions such as infections or drugs cause immunodeficiency. Acquired immunodeficiency is also known as secondary immunodeficiency.
Examples of primary type: IgA deficiency, DiGeorge syndrome (thymic dysplasia), Chediak-Higashi syndrome and chronic granulomatous disease Examples of acquired/secondary type: HIV (Human Immunodeficiency Virus) infection / AIDS (Acquired Immunodeficiency Syndrome) and immune deficiencies caused by medications
2. Autoimmune disorders arise when the body's immune system attacks its own tissues mistaking them for foreign matter.Examples - lupus, juvenile rheumatoid arthritis, scleroderma and ankylosing spondylitis.
3. Allergic disorders occur when the immune system over-reacts to an antigen. The substances that provoke such attacks are called allergens. The immune response can cause symptoms such as swelling, watery eyes, sneezing and even a life-threatening reaction called anaphylaxis. Examples: asthma, eczema, environmental allergies (dust mites), seasonal allergies (hay fever), drug allergies (specific medications or drugs), food allergies (nuts) and allergies to toxins (bee stings)
4. Cancers of the immune system occur when cells that fight immunity fall prey to cancer. Leukemia, which involves abnormal overgrowth of leukocytes, is the most common childhood cancer. Lymphoma involves the lymphoid tissues and is one of the more common childhood cancers.
The symptoms of a weak immune include cold, flu, herpes, cold sores, fatigue etc. As per Ayurveda, ama is the root of all ailments. Indigestion and ama formation prevents nutrients from reaching the tissues and weakens the immune function. Ama is caused from incorrect eating habits , unhealthy lifestyle, stress and some diseases like cancer and AIDS , these impact the digestive process and immune function. The other causes of a bad immunity are stress, genetics, poor diet and metabolic disorders.
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