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What is a Weak Immune System? 5 Signs That Indicate Poor Immunity

Posted by Jessica Chu on

What is a Weak Immune System? 5 Signs That Indicate Poor Immunity

A weak immune system can make you live a hard life. You stress a little, and you're sick, you are near someone who coughs or sneezes, and you know you're next!

If you are prone to allergies, its most empirical for you to know that since the spring season is here, your immune system will go in overdrive managing allergies. With the immune system so busy dealing with the allergies, it might not recognize other germs that enter the body, consequently making you sick. So, now is the time to ensure that your immunity is on point. 

But before we get into the details of weak immune system symptoms, let's understand what an immune system consists of. 

What Is the Immune System?

Your immune system consists of many cells and signalling proteins. Immunity cells are involved in killing foreign invaders (antigens), clearing out the remains of foreign agents, or generating signalling proteins to initiate a defence mechanism to protect your body against infections. Signalling proteins receive the signal, interpret it and produce the required response. With a weak immune system, these cells and signalling proteins fail to work optimally, making you prone to diseases and infections. 

There are three ways in which someone's immune system can become weak. 

  1. They are born with a weak immune system.
  2. An infection or a disease has overpowered their immune system
  3. The signalling proteins do not interpret the received signals, rather attack the immune cells. 

Having a weak immune system, in the long run, may lead to severe diseases such as cancer, diabetes and kidney failure. 

Signs of a Weak Immune System

Your body gives you indications for almost everything. It signals you if you are feeling hungry, sleepy or thirsty. Similarly, being sick over and over itself is a signal of an underlying problem. Check out some warning signs to know that its time to give your immune system the boost it truly needs.


1.You Live With Common Cold Most Of The Time Of The Year

It is normal for adults to cough and sneeze through 2-3 colds each year, but for someone who sneezes 15 days each month and spends most of the summers blowing their nose and coughing, it means they are showing weak immune system symptoms.  

A healthy immune system requires four days to start managing the common cold. It involves receiving the message about foreign substances in the body, producing signalling protein against it and finally deactivating or killing the culprit. That's why most people get well within ten days if they catch a cold any time around the year. For someone with a weak immune system, it doesn't only take more than ten days to recover, but they are always at the risk of getting a cold again.


2.You Have Frequent Joint Aches

Persistent joint aches are also a sign of a weak immune system. You barely walk 500m and need a break because your joints can't take it anymore. It indicates swelling of the protective lining of joints- called synovium. Synovium, which is a protective covering of joints, consists of a fluid that reduces friction and protects the joints from rubbing against each other.



The synovium swelling can be the result of your immune cells not fighting the bacteria effectively or the immune system attacking its cells rather than the invaders. Your joints become stiff, making it difficult to move and hold objects.


3.You Have Sudden Drop/Gain in Weight

A sudden increase or decrease in weight is not just because of a change in your caloric intake. It can be a weak immune system symptom too.

T-cells of the immune system play a role in weight loss/gain by regulating fat metabolism. The T-cells start off a chain of complex reactions involving the conversion of dietary or stored fats into a molecule called brown fat. This conversion is essential to help digest the fats and keep you lean. The process requires a large amount of energy that ultimately results in weight loss. 

A weak immunity might malfunction the T-cells. They either use a large amount of energy for the conversion of dietary fats that results in extreme weight drop, or they do not initiate the conversation at all, which can lead to sudden excessive weight gain. 


4.You Experience Recurrent Outbreaks

Your skin is the first line of defence against bacteria, viruses or any other harmful substances. The way your skin looks and feels can dictate how well your immune system is working. 

Redness, swelling and warmth of the skin indicate inflammation, which is also a weak immune system symptom. Weak immunity may result in itching, dryness and skin breakouts. Also, a weak immunity means your skin will take more time to heal wounds. 


5.Frequent Runs To Bathroom 

Research suggests that nearly 70% of our immune system resides in our digestive tract. Studies also reveal that our digestive system consists of many bacteria that are useful for digestion. The balance of these useful bacteria is essential for the immune system to work optimally. 

An imbalance of these useful bacteria impairs the immune cells, which can cause frequent episodes of diarrhea. An unhealthy lifestyle, e.g. drinking excessive alcohol or an underlying medical condition, can cause such an imbalance. The result is the manifestation of weak immune system symptoms that include inflammation leading to an ulcer.

It is imperative to know what is normal for your body and whatnot. Paying attention to the working of your body can help identify ailments and weak immune system symptoms that, if not treated, can become lethal. If you are noticing any of the symptoms, we recommend you to boost your immune system and help yourself. 






Medical Express. 2016. Immune system plays major role in regulation of body weight


Hospital for Special Surgery. (n.d). Synovitis. 


Immune Deficiency Foundation. 2013. The Immune System and Primary Immunodeficiency


University of Rochester Medical Center. (n.d). Immune System Disorders


Center for Disease Control & Prevention. Hygiene-related Diseases