Who, What, When, Where, and Why?

Your immune system protects your body against infection, disease, and damaging foreign bodies. A healthy immune system identifies pathogens and protects against threats to the body. Immune system disorders result in autoimmune disease, cancer, and inflammatory diseases, which can compromise the immune system’s protective efficacy.
There are two subsystems of the immune system: the innate immune system and the adaptive immune system. The innate immune system is comprised of cells which defend the body from infection. These cells respond generically but do not offer the long-lasting protection of the adaptive immune system. The innate immune system specifically recruits immune cells to the sites of infection, identifies foreign substances through white blood cells, and activates the adaptive immune system. The adaptive immune system is comprised of highly specialized cells that eliminate and prevent pathogen growth while offering long-term protection. Major functions include the recognition of non-self cells, the generation of responses, and the development of immunological memory.
The main components of the immune system serve to protect the entire body and its other functions. These components are: 
LYMPH NODES are bean-shaped organs found throughout the body, such as the armpits and stomach, that produces cells to fight infection and disease.
The SPLEEN is the largest lymphatic organ in the body. Found under the ribs, above the stomach, the spleen contains the white blood cells needed to fight infection. The spleen also aids in disposing of old and damaged cells.
LYMPHOCYTES are small white blood cells which defend the body. There are two types of lymphocytes: B-cells, which produce antibodies that attack bacteria, and T-cells, which destroy infected cells.
The THYMUS is where T-cells mature and is found under the breast bone. It maintains the production of antibodies.
BONE MARROW is yellow tissue in the centre of your bones that aid in the production of white blood cells. It contains stem cells, which are immature cells, that can mature into any human cell.
LEUKOCYTES are white blood cells, which are necessary to fight of infection and disease.


For the last three centuries, researchers have made some incredible discoveries about the immune system. From Lady Mary Wortley Montagu in 1718 making note of the positive effect of variolation, to Edward Jenner in 1796 demonstrating the first smallpox vaccine, our knowledge is continuously growing. In 1840, Jakob Hanle proposed the first modern germ theory of disease, and since then, we have discovered microbes in fermentation, cholera, anthrax, rabies vaccines, yellow fever, hepatitis B vaccines, and the Arthus response. These breakthroughs have led us to where we are today and have helped create a general knowledge of how our bodies function and how to keep ourselves healthy.

If your immune system is not running properly, then the cells which fight off bacteria and infection cannot protect the body. Immune diseases vary from allergic diseases, such as asthma, eczema, and allergic rhinitis, to autoimmune diseases, such as lupus and rheumatoid arthritis. Often, they can be difficult to diagnose and are often interconnected.

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