The immune system helps the body defend against alien particles such as microbes and pollutants. An impairment of the immune system, called immunocompromise, can leave the body vulnerable to various viral, bacterial, or fungal opportunistic infections. By far the most dreaded and destructive immune disease has to be AIDS (Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome). Causes of immune deficiency can be viruses, chronic illnesses, or immune system illnesses.
There is another class of immune disorders involving an overactive immune response. The different classes of diseases from an excessive response by the immune system include: Allergies, caused by a reaction to a substance or food by the immune response, Asthma - caused by an allergic reaction affecting the airway passages, Anaphylaxis - an extremely dangerous over-reaction that can lead to shock, Autoimmune diseases - a group of more than 100 diseases where the body's own immune system gets confused and starts to attack good body cells.
Allergic reactions are a common disorder prevalent among all societies in the world. It could range from itchy eyes, a running nose, sneezing, and rashes on the skin to swelling caused by leaking blood vessels. An allergy is triggered by an allergen, the causative agent, and hence the diagnosis begins by identifying the allergen responsible for the allergic reaction. Antihistamines are a class of drugs that are used to treat allergic reactions. Avoidance of allergens is the best strategy in managing allergic reactions. Depending on the allergy, once could avoid consuming certain types of foods, removing a pet from the house, or discontinuing the use of articles that collect dust, to avoid common allergens.
AIDS is the bane of modern society. It is a viral disease transmitted through blood. Considerable amounts and resources are being spent by governments around the world to control the spread of this dreaded disease. Being an immune related disease, the presence of the HIV virus responsible for AIDS, lowers the immune defense of the human body leaving it vulnerable to diseases such as TB, Malaria and so on.
Safe sexual practices such as consistent and correct use of condoms, avoidance of multiple partners, and checking blood thoroughly for the HIV virus by blood banks can lead to a reduction in the spread of this disease. Educating the youth in safe sexual practices, preventing mother to child transmission of the virus and encouraging the use of condoms, are the weapons used in the war against this killer disease.