Your Immune System

You haven’t noticed, but there is a full-fledged war going on within. The scale of the war and the exploits of its actors would put Alexander the Great and his entire army to shame. There is deep strategy involved, early detection, a well-oiled army with separate regiments for different tasks. The soldiers can even don the visage of the enemy and make themselves look like them. The impersonation is to fool the enemy after which with surgical precision, the enemy is obliterated. Strangely, this entire war is designed for but one purpose – keeping you alive. The war is your immune system fighting intruders such as pathogens and toxins, and the soldiers are your white blood cells a.k.a. leucocytes.

Leucocytes play the role of attacking and destroying anything unfamiliar. The intruder could be a bacteria, virus or parasite. At times, leucocytes can also be triggered by harmless pollens or worse even your cells. The cells in your body have a unique identity tag. It is this tag that tells your leucocytes that these cells belong to you and should not be destroyed. God forbid if a cell without that tag were to enter your body, your body would react promptly and set out to destroy them. In an amazing display of ingenuity, the cells mimic the appearance of the invader, lock with them and then destroy them. At times this process can go awry, and these killer cells can turn on your cells. You have now acquired an autoimmune disease.

You make up to a billion leucocytes a day in your bone marrow. If the problem persists, you will produce something called T- and B- cells. They will make you immune to the invader so that the next time you remain unaffected. The natural defence of your body is the reason doctors advise you to avoid antibiotics as they interfere with your natural defence system. The next time you want to watch a movie about a war, perhaps you might want to look inside.