We are independent & ad-supported. We may earn a commission for purchases made through our links.

Advertiser Disclosure

Our website is an independent, advertising-supported platform. We provide our content free of charge to our readers, and to keep it that way, we rely on revenue generated through advertisements and affiliate partnerships. This means that when you click on certain links on our site and make a purchase, we may earn a commission. Learn more.

How We Make Money

We sustain our operations through affiliate commissions and advertising. If you click on an affiliate link and make a purchase, we may receive a commission from the merchant at no additional cost to you. We also display advertisements on our website, which help generate revenue to support our work and keep our content free for readers. Our editorial team operates independently from our advertising and affiliate partnerships to ensure that our content remains unbiased and focused on providing you with the best information and recommendations based on thorough research and honest evaluations. To remain transparent, we’ve provided a list of our current affiliate partners here.

What Causes Suppression of the Immune System?

By Jillian O Keeffe
Updated Mar 03, 2024
Our promise to you
The Health Board is dedicated to creating trustworthy, high-quality content that always prioritizes transparency, integrity, and inclusivity above all else. Our ensure that our content creation and review process includes rigorous fact-checking, evidence-based, and continual updates to ensure accuracy and reliability.

Our Promise to you

Founded in 2002, our company has been a trusted resource for readers seeking informative and engaging content. Our dedication to quality remains unwavering—and will never change. We follow a strict editorial policy, ensuring that our content is authored by highly qualified professionals and edited by subject matter experts. This guarantees that everything we publish is objective, accurate, and trustworthy.

Over the years, we've refined our approach to cover a wide range of topics, providing readers with reliable and practical advice to enhance their knowledge and skills. That's why millions of readers turn to us each year. Join us in celebrating the joy of learning, guided by standards you can trust.

Editorial Standards

At The Health Board, we are committed to creating content that you can trust. Our editorial process is designed to ensure that every piece of content we publish is accurate, reliable, and informative.

Our team of experienced writers and editors follows a strict set of guidelines to ensure the highest quality content. We conduct thorough research, fact-check all information, and rely on credible sources to back up our claims. Our content is reviewed by subject matter experts to ensure accuracy and clarity.

We believe in transparency and maintain editorial independence from our advertisers. Our team does not receive direct compensation from advertisers, allowing us to create unbiased content that prioritizes your interests.

Suppression of the immune system can occur for a variety of reasons. Some people inherit conditions that affect the ability of the immune system to do its job, while others acquire problems through organ damage or infectious disease. A number of drugs can also produce suppression of the immune system, although these have their benefits in certain situations. Different stages of life can also affect the immune system's efficiency, such as old age or pregnancy, although as this is natural, it does not generally fall into the medical definition of immune suppression.

Disease is a common cause of suppression of the immune system. In healthy people, the immune system employs a variety of cells and molecules that work together to resist disease. If one or more of these normal components is affected by a medical condition, then the body is more at risk of disease. Conditions that can produce this include inherited problems like globulinemias, DiGeorge syndrome or Wiscott-Aldrich syndrome.

Some people who suffer from suppression of the immune system acquire their issues from an infection. Infectious organisms that can produce a weakened immune response include human immunodeficiency virus (HIV). Even malnutrition can result in immune suppression, as the body cannot get an adequate amount of nutrients to keep the components of the system at the necessary quality or quantity.

Organ diseases, or injury to organs, can also produce problems in the immune response, as can diabetes. Some organs, such as the spleen, are directly involved in the immune response, and their removal adversely affects the ability of the body to defend itself against infection. Certain cancers can also damage the efficiency of the immune response, or the chemotherapy treatment for the cancer patient can itself produce immune suppression.

Various drugs, including chemotherapy, have a dampening effect on the immune system. Corticosteroids, for example, are drugs that interfere with the inflammatory action of the immune system, and in reducing the immune response, indirectly reduce the ability of the immune response to defend against infection. Other drugs, like immunosuppressants for transplant patients, are used deliberately to prevent the immune system attacking the foreign material of the organ or tissue.

Very young children and pregnant women have a reduced immune strength, which can result in more infections than other people. This is normal though, as children's immune systems are not fully developed yet, and pregnant women need to prevent their immune system from attacking the unborn baby. These cases are not typically included in the definition of people suffering from immune suppression. The elderly are another group of people with a less robust response to infection, who also are not commonly included in the immune suppression group, but who need to take special care if exposed to infection.

The Health Board is dedicated to providing accurate and trustworthy information. We carefully select reputable sources and employ a rigorous fact-checking process to maintain the highest standards. To learn more about our commitment to accuracy, read our editorial process.

Discussion Comments

The Health Board, in your inbox

Our latest articles, guides, and more, delivered daily.

The Health Board, in your inbox

Our latest articles, guides, and more, delivered daily.