Understand and care for your immune system

Understand and care for your immune system

By Life@TheU

Understand and care for your immune system

By Life@TheU
Learn about the immune system and autoimmune diseases with help from UHealth experts.

The immune system is a complex interconnected network that helps us fight illness. When working properly, as it usually does, it conquers viruses, parasites, bacteria, and other germs while also protecting healthy tissue. Sometimes a pathogen can be particularly tricky, explained Dr. Gary I. Kleiner, an immunologist with UHealth—University of Miami Health System.

It’s possible to develop immunity to a disease that you have already contracted or been inoculated against—as with chickenpox or measles. But there are still mysteries surrounding immunity and scientists continue to work to understand how the immune system works and why some people recover and others die from the same illness. Learn more about how the immune system works.

Learn about autoimmune diseases.

For people who have an autoimmune disease, their immune system mistakenly attacks the body’s own healthy cells instead of fighting infections. There are more than 80 types of these autoimmune diseases that affect all parts of the body, including skin cells, the digestive tract, thyroid, and nervous system. Find a list of the most common autoimmune diseases and their symptoms.

Dr. Elana M. Oberstein, a rheumatology expert with UHealth, explained the importance of seeing a specialist since autoimmune diseases can affect a specific organ. In some cases, a patient will work with a team of experts, depending on the issue, particularly if multiple organs and areas of the body are involved. Learn more about autoimmune diseases.

Lifestyle changes can help.

Whether you’re facing an autoimmune disease or simply trying to stay ahead of getting sick, experts agree that there isn't a singular quick fix. According to Dr. Stephen Avallone, an internal medicine physician with UHealth, supporting your immune system requires a lifestyle change, not simply doing one thing or another.

While Dr. Avallone suggests a two-pronged approach—prevention and treatment—he also shared lifestyle tips that can help keep your immune system in shape to fight when it needs to. Explore expert advice on the lifestyle changes that can support and boost your immune health.

Access the medical care you need at a UHealth facility or via telehealth by scheduling an appointment. Find additional information about scheduling or call 305-243-4000.

Live Well with UHealth is a series highlighting curated content from articles previously published on UMiami Health News, a site that shares useful health tips and insights into research discoveries that change lives, brought to you by the experts at UHealth—the University of Miami Health System. This story highlights the following articles: