Our immune system is our body’s main defense force. It allows us to stand strong in the face of infection and disease, resisting the spread of dangerous illnesses. The problem is, sometimes this army of cells, tissues and organs doesn’t work the way it should. With a weakened defense force, you’re vulnerable to the toxins that your immune system, otherwise, would have fought off. It’s important to recognize the warning symptoms of low immune function, and know when to get yourself checked. Heed these five signs your immune system might not be up to par.
Chilly fingers? It might not be just a characteristic feature; cold hands is actually a hallmark symptom of low immune function. Also called Raynaud’s phenomenon, this disorder is caused by an inflammation in the blood vessels; the slowed blood flow makes it harder to keep your extremities warm. According to the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute, Raynaud’s affects roughly 5 percent of the American population. While other things can cause the disorder, like smoking and certain prescription drugs, it might also point to a weakened immune system.
A dry nose
It’s gross but it’s true: a runny nose is one of your immune system’s fiercest weapons against invaders. Mucus works towards trapping viruses, preventing entry into the body. Dry nasal passages allow germs easier access, leaving you open to whatever illnesses they may carry. Luckily, a dry nose can be remedied with a squeeze bottle of a saline solution or a humidifier. Bring on the sniffles!
For people with a low-functioning immune system, diarrhea lasting for more than two to four weeks could be a signal that something’s awry, and your immune system is harming your digestive tract. Constipation might also be a sign that something’s up; your immune system might be forcing your intestine to slow down. Nobody likes the runs or a hard stool. Whether immune system-related or not, check with a doctor if you experience issues with your bowel movements.
Some people with immune system disorders experience dryness or discomfort in the eyes. Some even experience pain, redness or blurred vision. If you experience dryness or pain in your eyes, you might be exhibiting a symptom of a low-functioning immune system.
Itchy, dry skin
You can tell a lot about your immune system’s functionality by the appearance and condition of your skin. It’s the body’s gateway to the outside world, its first barrier against the intruders your immune system works to fight off. Rashes on the skin might indicate inflammation, a telltale symptom of a weakened immune system.
If you’re tired all the time, despite how much sleep you’re getting, you might be exhibiting a red flag of a deficient immune system. Extreme fatigue, along with bodily aches, could indicate a malfunction in the body’s defense force and should prompt a checkup with your doctor.