Have you been struggling to stay well lately? Or have you been unable to shake a stubborn cold for several weeks? Perhaps you suffer from inflammation that just won’t go away. If so, you may have a weakened immune system, and this can be due to a variety of factors.
Life is challenging enough even when you’re in tip-top shape and your health is in check. But when you have lingering symptoms or a health problem that stubbornly sticks around, this can make your life difficult.
If you’ve had a difficult time shaking an illness, or even healing from a wound, these could be indications that you may have a weakened immune system. And if you’re still unsure, here are eight signs that your immune system is weak.
When Should You Worry About Your Immune System?
Just about every human on the planet gets sick from time to time. And we all deal with illness in our own way. For example, some of us stay in bed until our energy returns. Others power through their illnesses and continue on with their daily lives as usual, while some of us head straight to the doctor to get a diagnosis. But the level of fatigue we feel and how we respond to illness and injury is largely regulated by the immune system.
At the end of the day, your immune system can be weak, overactive, underactive, or even attack you by mistake. But a proper diagnosis is key to understanding how to approach treatment.
If you have a healthy immune system, getting sick from time to time is no real reason to worry. But if you find yourself getting sick over and over, or if your symptoms simply won’t subside, then you may need to start thinking about talking to a doctor.
Curious if stress could be contributing to a weak immune system? Read our blog Stress and Your Immune System: Why You Get Sick More Often When You’re Stressed.
8 Signs of a Weak Immune System
A weak immune system can give itself away with a few telltale signs. But keep in mind that many of these signs could indicate underlying health conditions. As such, it’s important to remember that a proper diagnosis by a qualified medical professional is the only way to tell if your immune system is weak, or if you have other conditions that need to be addressed.
1. Chronic Fatigue
Even with adequate sleep, if you feel fatigued regularly throughout the day, this is a sign that your body’s natural defense isn’t working as it normally should.
Chronic fatigue may also be accompanied by body aches or a feeling of lethargy, much like when you have the flu or other more common illnesses. However, if you’ve been tested for any illnesses and still feel this way on a daily basis, your immune system function may need to be evaluated by a medical professional.
How your skin looks can often be a reflection of your health. And when your immune system isn’t operating properly, this may be evident in your skin.
Itchy, red, or dry skin is usually associated with inflammatory conditions. For example, a rash that appears without any good reason may indicate that inflammation is present even though you may feel fine. And if it persists for longer than a few days, this is a good indication that you should see a medical professional.
3. Numbness in the Hands or Feet
In some cases where the immune system has weakened, or in some autoimmune diseases, your body may be responding to an infection or illness by sending signals to the nerves and muscles which can produce a numbing or tingling sensation. In fact, Guillain-Barre Syndrome is an autoimmune disorder that can attack the nerves.
In addition, cold hands and feet may also be a sign of a weakened immune system or an autoimmune disorder such as Raynaud’s disease.
4. Difficulty Swallowing
Problems with the immune system can also affect regular bodily functions – even chewing and swallowing. This is often because the tongue or esophagus becomes inflamed or swollen and won’t allow you to swallow as well as normal.
Swallowing can even be painful if inflammation in the esophagus is extreme. And if this is the case, getting a proper diagnosis from your doctor is highly recommended.
5. Weight Loss or Gain
If you’ve noticed an unexplained weight gain recently even though your regular eating habits haven’t changed, or if you’ve dropped a few pounds with no change in eating habits or workout regimen, then it’s possible that your immune system is weak or damaged.
A change in weight can also be associated with issues with your thyroid gland, another autoimmune disorder that affects many people.
6. Sensitivity to Sunlight and Heat
Allergic reactions to sunlight are often symptoms of autoimmune responses. And this is usually classified as photodermatitis when your skin reacts to the sun, or to UV rays.
In some cases, small blisters, patches, or a rash may form after being out in the sun. And this is also sometimes accompanied by headache or nausea. In addition, red blotchy skin may form after taking a hot shower or being out in the heat for too long – another indication that your immune system is weak.
7. Diarrhea and Constipation
Diarrhea is a fairly common symptom that can be associated with several illnesses or medical problems. However, if you have persistent diarrhea that lasts several weeks, this could be a major indicator that your immune system has weakened, or that it may be attacking your digestive system in some way.
Additionally, if bowel movements have become difficult and persist for several weeks, your immune system may be weak and affect your digestive system by signaling that it needs to slow down.
8. Dry Eyes
A weak immune system can affect the body in many ways. And autoimmune disorders can also have many of the same symptoms. As such, many people who have a weakened immune system experience dry eye syndrome – often accompanied by pain or blurred vision.
Due to the fact that dry eyes can indicate many illnesses or health problems, a complete examination and diagnosis from a medical professional is the best strategy.
What Should You Do if You Suspect You Have a Weak Immune System?
At Tri-Cities Functional Medicine, you can get the help you need in understanding how your immune system work and find out about the imbalances in your body.
Our functional medicine experts are here for you to meet your needs and to guide you through your health journey. We offer holistic and science-based therapy and treatment that is designed to treat your whole body, not just your symptoms.
Here’s how you can get started with improving your immune system at Tri-Cities Functional Medicine:
1) Watch our free webinar on autoimmune disorders to learn how we approach and treat these conditions.
2) Schedule a free discovery call to discuss your concerns about immune system problems and autoimmune disorders.
3) After your discovery call – if you feel that Tri-Cities is a good fit, you’ll schedule your consultation with Dr. Radawi to assess your overall condition and develop a customized treatment regimen just for you.
Tri-Cities Functional Medicine is located in Johnson City, Tennessee, and serves patients throughout East Tennessee and into Virginia and North Carolina. These areas include but are not limited to: Washington County, TN, Sullivan County, TN, Carter County, TN, Greene County, TN, Knox County, TN, Bristol, TN, Holston Valley, TN, Tri-Cities, TN, Walnut Hill, TN, Elizabethton, TN, Greeneville, TN, Morristown, TN, Blountville, TN, Bluff City, TN, Kingsport, TN, Jonesborough, TN, Colonial Heights, TN, Limestone, TN, Knoxville, TN, Bristol, VA, and Abingdon, VA