If you get sick often, feel fatigued, or have other ongoing symptoms you just can't explain, it may mean you have a weakened immune system. And there are any number of reasons why that might be.
"Your immune system can be weakened by [eating less nutritiou food], a lack of sleep, and high stress levels," Erin Palinski-Wade, RD, CDE, author of 2 Day Diabetes Diet and Swisse Wellness Consultant, tells Bustle.
These things wear you down, and make it difficult for your body to fight off illness. For example, "stress causes production of hormones known as cortisol, which can suppress the immune system," Dr. Tania Elliott, board-certified Allergist/Immunologist at NYU Langone Health, tells Bustle.
Of course, an underlying illness might be to blame, too. "Chronic disease, either disease of the immune system itself (immunodeficiency or autoimmunity; or other conditions such as diabetes, heart disease, and kidney disease) can all weaken the immune system," Dr. Elliott says. And that will be something you'll need to discuss with a doctor.
You can, however, boost your immune system with a few lifestyle changes. "To strengthen your immune system, self-care is vital," Palinski-Wade says. "To combat a lack of sleep, put yourself on a regular sleep schedule where you go to bed and wake up at the same time each day." You can also manage your stress, and make sure to eat nutritious foods.
Simple changes like these can make all the difference, and help strengthen your immune system over time. Read on for signs yours make be weaker than you think, according to experts.