Although there are many environmental factors that contribute to chronic illness in children, one of the most important outcomes of all these environmental influences is a dysregulated immune system.
A dysregulated immune system simply means that an individual’s immune system is not working properly.
Here are some examples of what happens when an immune system malfunctions:
- It can over-react to innocuous stimulus (like cat dander) and cause symptoms like sneezing or itching.
- It can attack its host’s own cells and tissues (like what happens in an arthritic joint). This is called autoimmunity.
- It does not have the ability to detoxify and eliminate harmful substances that enter the body.
- It cannot effectively combat pathogenic (disease-causing) microbes (germs!) that invade the body.
- It can keep the body in a heightened state of “attack” causing inflammation and oxidative stress which can lead to disruptions in cellular functions and operations.
The immune system is how the body defends itself from harmful substances in the environment.
A dysregulated (or dysfunctional) immune system is unable to protect a body from harmful environmental influences and it can unleash a cascade of harmful effects upon the body.
Many of our children live with chronic infections in their ears, sinuses, and gastrointestinal systems, yet because their immune systems are dysregulated, they are unable to effectively “kick out” these infections.
More often than not, we do not even know that they have these infections because they do not show up on any conventional medical tests, and the early signs associated with these infections can be subtle and easily confused for some other medical or mental health problem.
When a body lives in a state of chronic infection, a whole cascade of physiological problems can unfold.
For example, immune dysregulation can lead to chronic inflammation which can destroy cells and tissues in all parts of the body (including the brain, liver, pancreas, lungs, and kidneys).
Chronic immune stimulation can lead to mitochondrial dysfunction.
Immune dysregulation can be caused by a number of factors including gut dysbiosis, exposure to environmental toxins and heavy metals or high levels of exposure to electromagentic radiation,.
Read more about the causes of immune dysregulation here.
But there is more than just immune dysregulation going on in our children’s bodies. . .
Gut dysbiosis is a serious problem for most children with chronic illness.
Learn about gut dysbiosis and how it can impact the body.