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Does Diabetes Compromise Your Immune System


Type 2 Diabetes Linked To Immune System

Living with a compromised immune system | Voices from the Pandemic

This article was published more than 10 years ago. Some information may no longer be current.

For decades, scientists have known that in type 1 diabetes the body’s immune system malfunctions and destroys the insulin-producing cells in the pancreas.

Insulin is the hormone that plays a key role in moving glucose, or sugar, from the bloodstream into the body’s tissues where it’s needed for energy.

Type 2 diabetes, on the other hand, has never been considered an autoimmune disorder. People with this condition produce insulin but they don’t use it very efficiently – although scientists don’t know why.


A new study by researchers at Stanford University and the University of Toronto, however, suggests that type 2 diabetes may involve immune-system abnormalities after all.

In a series of laboratory experiments, the researchers found they could cause a mouse to develop this form of diabetes by manipulating its immune system.

The researchers also found that blood samples of people with type 2 diabetes contained antibodies against some of their own proteins. In other words, their immune systems have turned on them.

“This data is highly suggestive that there is an autoimmune component in type 2 diabetes,” said Daniel Winer, one of the study’s lead authors, along with his twin brother, Shawn Winer, both at the University of Toronto.

People At Risk: Those With Weakened Immune Systems

A properly functioning immune system works to clear infection and other foreign agents from the body. People with health problems or who take medicines that weaken the bodys ability to fight germs and sickness are more likely to get a foodborne illness. This includes, for example, people with diabetes liver or kidney disease HIV/AIDS autoimmune diseases organ transplants and people receiving chemotherapy or radiation therapy.


People with weakened immune systems are more likely to have a lengthier illness, undergo hospitalization, or even die, should they get a foodborne illness. To avoid this, you must be especially careful when choosing, handling, preparing, and consuming food.

Allergies Are Also An Immune System Mistake

If youve ever been to see a doctor who specializes in allergies, you may have noticed a sign on the door: Allergy and Immunology. Yup, they go hand-in-hand.

For some reason, in people with allergies, the immune system strongly reacts to an allergen that should be ignored. The allergen might be a certain food, or a certain type of pollen, or a certain type of animal fur. For example, a person allergic to a certain pollen will get a runny nose, watery eyes, sneezing, etc., Joslins Dr. Jackson tells DiabetesMine.

People with one autoimmune condition can be prone to getting a second one too. In the case of T1D, that second is often thyroid disease, or, you guessed it an

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What Is The Immune System

We are surrounded by millions of bacteria, viruses and other germs all the time. Some are actively helpful to us – for instance, we couldn’t digest our food without ‘friendly’ gut bacteria. Most are harmless unless they get into our system – and it’s the job of our immune system to stop that happening.

The immune system – the body’s defence against disease-causing microbes – can be divided into:

  • Lines of first defence .
  • Specially adapted white blood cells called lymphocytes.
  • Other types of white blood cells.
  • Your lymphatic system .
  • 5min

H Visit Your Doctor Regularly

94% of COVID Deaths Had These Conditions

Schedule a regular visit to your healthcare provider for a routine checkup. Through routine blood work, health checks, and physical examination, he can evaluate your blood sugar levels and detect any current or upcoming infection for quick and effective treatment.

At EPIC Health, we offer comprehensive support to help you manage your blood sugar levels and keep your immunity quotient high. Our expert primary care physicians perform a variety of tests and healthcare screenings to evaluate your health. They also provide you with complete medicinal and dietary support to boost your immunity, control your blood sugar levels, and minimize your risk of infections. They can also help you inculcate healthy lifestyle practices to help you shed your excessive body weight.

Schedule an appointment at EPIC Health today and make way for a healthy disease-free life. We can help you live happy, healthy and better!


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Ways To Boost Your Immunity If You Have Diabetes

Following are some of the ways in which you can boost your immunity in diabetes:

Thus, by following the above- mentioned simple and easy to follow steps, you can boost your immunity system even in diabetes and lead a healthy, happy life!

We hope that the above post has been helpful in educating you about the relationship that exists between diabetes and the immunity system of your body. Diabetes does adversely affect immunity and that exposes you to greater risks of infections and wounds. Having said that, if you do take appropriate measures, you can strengthen your immune system even if you are a diabetic patient.

  • https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3130196/

What Can Be Done To Avoid Infections

One of the most important things that you can do to avoid infections is to practice careful foot care. In addition to wearing shoes and socks to avoid minor bumps and scrapes, your feet should be examined daily for any blisters, cuts, scrapes, sores or other skin problems that could allow an infection to develop. Meticulous foot and skin care is needed to ensure that minor cuts and scrapes do not turn into ulcerated infections that can migrate into the bloodstream and cause major problems.


Good urinary hygiene, especially for women, can help minimize the possibility of developing urinary tract infections. This includes proper toilet hygiene, prompt urination after sexual intercourse, regular emptying of the bladder, and ample fluid intake.

Yeast infections can often be avoided by good vaginal care. This may include the avoidance of spermicides and douches. Eating foods with active cultures, such as yogurt containing Acidophilus, can be helpful for preventing yeast infections.

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What Causes A Person To Become Immunocompromised

There are multiple ways an individual might be immunocompromised, says David Hafler, MD, chair of Yale Neurology and professor of immunobiology at Yale School of Medicine.

He divides the causes into two major groups: those with a genetic mutation or a disease, such as HIV, that causes a loss of immune function and those who take certain medications, including immunotherapy, to treat specific diseases.


Immunotherapy is a treatment that can suppress, or dampen, immune responses when the immune system is overactive, such as with an autoimmune disease in which immune cells attack healthy tissue or with organ transplants. Autoimmune diseases that create this overactive response include rheumatoid arthritis, type 1 diabetes, multiple sclerosis , and inflammatory bowel disease .

In general, the more immunocompromised someone is, the less effective vaccines will be for them.Stuart Seropian, MD, a Smilow Cancer Hospital hematologist

Immunotherapy is also used to enhance immune responses, sometimes using drugs called checkpoint inhibitors, for example, to treat certain types of cancer. With checkpoint inhibitors, patients arent considered to be immunocompromised, Dr. Hafler adds. After treatment, those patients may have a perfectly normalor even a more robustimmune response, he says.

What Extra Steps Do Immunocompromised People Need To Take During The Coronavirus Outbreak

What Constitutes A Compromised Immune System? | MSNBC

As COVID-19 continues to spread, it’s recommended that people who are immunocompromised follow the same general precautions as non-immunocompromised people, says Dr. Bhuyah. That includes washing your hands frequently, sneezing and coughing into the fold of your elbow, avoiding touching your face and people who may be ill, disinfecting/sanitizing surfaces regularly, and staying home if you’re sick.

“Vigilance about hand hygiene and self-careâsleep, good nutrition, and de-stressingâis essential for immunocompromised people,” says Sandra Kesh, M.D., deputy medical director and infectious disease specialist at Westmed Medical Group.


Avoiding travel is big right now, too, adds Dr. Bhuyan. “People who are immunocompromised should be much more cautious about ‘non-essential’ travel and avoid crowds in regions where there is community transmission of coronavirus,” she explains. “Crowded functions, like sporting events or concerts, might feel ‘essential,’ but they can be skipped.”

Speaking of travel, Ashish Sharma, M.D., internal medicine doctor and hospitalist at Yuma Regional Medical Center, strongly advises avoiding contact with anyone who’s recently traveled to countries with confirmed cases of the coronavirus .

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Fatty Seafood Offers Immune

The omega-3 fatty acids found in some types of fish such as salmon, sardines, herring, and mackerel enhance the functioning of immune cells, says the Sparta, New Jerseybased Erin Palinski-Wade, RD, CDCES, author of 2 Day Diabetes Diet and a consultant for Swisse Wellness.

Although a review and meta-analysis published in August 2019 in the BMJ found that omega-3s have little or no effect on type 2 diabetes directly, Palinski-Wade says they can have significant benefit when it comes to better immune function. EPA, a component of omega-3s, may enhance the activity of white blood cells, which strengthens the immune benefits, she notes. A past study suggests this effect can not only be significant, but can also happen fairly quickly within a week, those researchers found.


Plus, these seaworthy choices offer established heart benefits, notes a review published in the MayJune 2013 issue of the Indian Journal of Endocrinology and Metabolism. Fatty fish appear to lower inflammation, thereby improving blood vessel function and decreasing triglycerides, according to the Mayo Clinic.

When prepared without sauces, fatty fish can be a great low-carb food to add to your diabetes diet. According to the USDA, a 5-ounce serving of salmon contains only 5 g of carbs.

Who Is Considered Immunocompromised

Immunosuppression, on its own, is more a symptom than a syndrome, notes Dr. Bhuyan. Meaning, people with certain chronic illnesses or genetic disorders tend to have a compromised immune response as a byproduct of their disease.

The reasons for being immunocompromised can be broken down into a few categories, explains Dr. Bhuyan. This includes chronic conditions , inherited conditions, medications, or functional immunosuppression.

Here are some examples of illnesses that fall into those categories:


Functional immunosuppression: not having a spleen or losing your spleen

Keep in mind, these categories work in different ways as far as how each condition affects the immune system, says primary care physician Nate Favini, M.D., medical lead at health-care company Forward. “There are varying degrees of immunocompromisation, so some people may be more or less vulnerable to infections, depending on ,” he explains.

If someone has cancer , the disease itself can compromise the body’s immune responseâandchemotherapy treatment can impact the immune system on top of that, adds Dr. Favini.

Other chronic conditions like diabetes, heart disease, and chronic kidney disease can also make you less able to fight off a serious infection and might place you at higher risk for a virus like the novel coronavirus, explains Dr. Favini.

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Effects Of T2dm On The Circulatory System

Vascular homeostasis is an important function of the endothelium. Under homeostatic conditions, the ECs maintain the integrity of blood vessels, modulate blood flow, deliver nutrients to the underlying tissues, regulate fibrinolysis and coagulation, control platelet adherence and patrol the trafficking of leukocytes . Normal ECs also internalize high-density lipoproteins and its main protein part apolipoprotein A-I in a receptor-mediated manner to activate endothelial cell nitric oxide synthase and promote anti-inflammatory and antiapoptotic mechanisms . HDL receptors on the surfaces of ECs include: the ATP-binding cassette transporters A1 and G1, the scavenger receptor -B1 and the ecto-F1-ATPase .

The scavenger receptor LOX-1 plays an important role in the uptake of ox-LDL during atherogenesis. It is strongly expressed on the surfaces of ECs, but has an inducible pattern of expression on the surface of macrophages and smooth muscle cells . The accelerated uptake of ox-LDL by macrophages accounts for their transformation into foam cells, the initial hallmark of atherosclerosis . Besides, diabetes leads to both quantitative and qualitative defects in circulating angiogenic progenitor cells that take part in the repair of injured endothelium . It has been shown that humans or mice with decreased numbers of CD31+CD34+CD133+CD45dimSca-1+Flk-1+ CAPCs have an increased prevalence of T2DM, elevated HbA1c levels and aggravated CVD risk scores .

How Does The Immune System Affect Sleep

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While sleep plays a critical role in immune function, the immune system also affects sleep in multiple ways.

Infections can trigger various responses from the immune system, including a lack of energy and sleepiness. This is one of the reasons why people who are sick often spend more time in bed and sleeping.

The nature of sleep changes during infection as well, altering how much time is spent in certain sleep stages. Specifically, the immune response induces more time in stage 3 non-rapid eye movement sleep, which is also known as deep sleep. Deep sleep involves greater slowing of bodily processes, allowing the immune system to utilize more energy to fight infection.


Fever is another important immune response. Higher body temperature can trigger new waves of immune defense, and it also makes the body more hostile to many pathogens. Some experts believe that sleep changes induced by infection are designed to facilitate fever and the bodys fight against foreign pathogens.

While researchers continue to study the relationships between sleep and the immune system, these effects demonstrate how closely interlinked they are and how the immune system can harness sleep to improve its ability to fight off infection.

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Suffer From Hay Fever

Much of the time, if you have immune suppression, you do not know you have it. However, you may be prone to getting infections more frequently. Also when you do get infections, they may be more severe and you may be more likely to develop severe complications. You may also get unusual or uncommon infections. For example, in general, healthy adults do not usually get thrush in the mouth, unless there is a good reason for it, such as using a steroid inhaler. For people with AIDS, however, thrush is common and may be very widespread or severe.

The medicines which can suppress your immune system may give you other side-effects. These vary and will be listed in the information which comes with your individual medicine.


Sleep And Innate And Adaptive Immunity

Sleep is an important period of bodily rest, and studies indicate that sleep plays a crucial role in the robustness of our immune system. In fact, sleep contributes to both innate and adaptive immunity.

Researchers have found that during nightly sleep, certain components of the immune system rev up. For example, there is an increased production of cytokines associated with inflammation. This activity appears to be driven both by sleep and by circadian rhythm, which is the bodys 24-hour internal clock.

When someone is ill or injured, this inflammatory response may help with recovery, fortifying innate and adaptive immunity as the body works to repair wounds or fight off an infection.

Studies have found, though, that this inflammation occurs even when a person isnt actively hurt or sick. Analysis of the type of cells and cytokines involved in this nighttime immune activity indicates that its role is to strengthen adaptive immunity.

Just like sleep can help the brain consolidate learning and memory, research suggests that sleep strengthens immune memory. The interaction of immune system components during sleep reinforces the immune systems ability to remember how to recognize and react to dangerous antigens.

Experts arent certain why this process takes place during sleep, but it is believed that several factors may be involved:

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How Does Diabetes Affect The Immune System

The immune system of the person with diabetes is damaged or rendered defective. This happens at the cellular level. If high blood sugars are present, such as is the case with uncontrolled diabetes, cells behave accordingly.

There is more chance that microorganisms in the body will become viral, leading to infections. This is due to the decreased immune response. The cells do not join to kill off the invading microorganisms in a high sugar environment.

Once blood sugars are brought into a normal range, immune system responses become more rapid and the body can ward off infections.

In relation to yeast infections and its prevalence in diabetes, yeast cells have an affinity for adhering themselves to diabetic cells. Its likely that carbohydrates at the receptor level of the cell attract yeast to these diabetic versus non-diabetic cells.

This is possibly why yeast infections in people with diabetes can be difficult to cure. 1

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If I Have Immune Suppression What Symptoms Should Prompt Me To See A Doctor

Compromised immune system during COVID-19 pandemic

If you have immune suppression, the when-to-see-your-doctor rules change. The immune system of healthy people can fight off most minor infections within days without any medical input. That’s why with most minor infections, healthy people are encouraged to take a wait-and-see approach. This means treating the symptoms and only visiting the doctor if they feel very unwell or the infection is not settling on its own.

If you have immune suppression, however, even a mild infection could become serious very quickly. So it is best to see a doctor as soon as possible rather than waiting to see how things go. Infections caught early can be treated quickly, preventing them from spreading and making you unwell. You are more likely to be given an antibiotic for a mild infection compared with someone who is not immunosuppressed, and it may well be in extreme cases that this might save your life.

So consult a doctor if you think you might have an infection, such as a sore throat, a cough, symptoms of a urine infection, food poisoning, etc.

Seek urgent medical attention if:

  • You have a high temperature over 38°C.
  • You have chills or shakes .
  • You feel generally unwell with dizziness or drowsiness or confusion.
  • You have a rash.
  • The light hurts your eyes.
  • You have fits .

If you have a child who is immunosuppressed, all the above applies. But you should also seek medical attention urgently if your child is breathing rapidly, or not eating or drinking as normal.

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