HEPATITIS C AND THE IMMUNE SYSTEM
- IMMUNE SYSTEM POWER:
Fight and Win Against the Dragon
The following is an extract from the above e-book
HEPATITIS C AND THE IMMUNE SYSTEM
HOW IMPORTANT IS YOUR IMMUNE SYSTEM IN
THE FIGHT AGAINST HEPATITIS C?
Survivors of hepatitis C, medical doctors, scientists and nutritionists all agree that the immune system plays a crucial role in suppressing or eliminating the virus. In cases where a Hepatitis C patient successfully used "alternative" methods to decrease viral loads, decrease liver enzyme levels or even eliminate the virus completely, there is a very consistent trend in their treatment: the tremendous emphasis on improving the immune system.
Here we will speak a lot about Hepatitis C. It is a unique virus in that it has higher viremeia (viral persistence) than other forms of hepatitis. For instance, unlike clearance of Hepatitis B, spontaneous clearance of HCV (Hepatitis C)is rare after chronic infection becomes established, according to Mandrell, Douglas and Bennett's, "Principles & Practices of Infectious Diseases."
Since hepatitis C is a virus, it stands to reason, that ultimately the immune system's response is a key factor in the body's elimination of disease. Since 15 to 20% of individuals with acute hepatitis C do not develop the chronic disease (85 % of cases go on to become chronic), it would seem that the immune system of those who did not become chronic carriers was able to successfully fight the infection. This is merely an opinion and not a scientific fact, but one might conclude that the immune system deserves some credit in such cases.
With hepatitis C, the mechanisms of viral clearance are poorly understood because of limitations in experimental models and the infrequent recognition of natural acute infection (only about 5% of Hep C cases actually manifest an acute illness after the initial incubation of the virus).
Viral persistence of HCV is indeed the topic of study for scientists trying to uncover this "evolved" virus which is known for its ability to evade immune responses!
BASICS OF THE IMMUNE SYSTEM
Let's learn some basics of the immune system so we can better understand how it protects us from disease.
The immune system is a group of cells, molecules, and organs that defend the body against invaders causing disease.
"Adaptive" immunity occurs when the invader attacks the body (as opposed to "innate" immunity which is furnished by barriers such as skin, tears and saliva). Adaptive immunity has four distinguishing qualities: it responds only after the invader is present, it is specific, it displays memory, and it does not usually attack normal body components.
Adaptive immune responses are reaction to antigens (structures on the surface of the invader). The two types of adaptive immune responses are HUMORAL and CELL-MEDIATED. In humoral responses, proteins called antibodies, which can destroy antigens, appear in the body fluids to resist invaders that act outside cells, such as bacteria and toxins.
In CELL-MEDIATED responses, cells that can destroy the antigen become active to resist invaders that reproduce within other cells, such as VIRUSES.
COMPONENTS OF THE IMMUNE SYSTEM
White blood cells are the mainstay of the immune system. Some white blood cells, known as macrophages, work by surrounding, absorbing, and destroying invaders, or by delivering them elsewhere to be destroyed. Lyphocytes are specialized white blood cells that identify and destroy antigens. B lymphocytes, or B cells, make antibodies. T-lymphocytes, or T-cells, recognize specific antigens and directly destroy cells. Helper T-lyphocytes control the strength and quality of immune responses. Most contact between antigens and lyphocytes occurs in the lymph nodes, spleen, and tonsils, as well as in specialized areas of the lung and intestine.
In "adaptive immunity" each response is tailored to a specific invading antigen, and lymphocyte is specific to a certain antigen. When an antigen enters a body cell, transport molecules within the cell attach themselves to the antigen and transport it to the surface of the cell where they present the antigen to T-lymphocytes.
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