The immune system is the body's natural defense system that helps fight infections. An impaired immune system does not work properly and can't effectively protect a person against infection.
Some conditions and medicines weaken or impair the immune system. These may include:
- Substance use disorders or problems caused by quitting their use (withdrawal).
- Certain diseases or conditions. Diabetes, cancer, HIV/AIDS, or conditions in which the body mistakenly identifies its own tissues as harmful (autoimmune disorders) are some examples.
- Chemotherapy or radiation therapy.
- Some medicines, such as corticosteroids or those taken to suppress the immune system after an organ transplant.
- Surgery to remove the spleen (splenectomy).
Current as of: April 20, 2022
Medical Review:E. Gregory Thompson MD - Internal Medicine & Adam Husney MD - Family Medicine & Elizabeth T. Russo MD - Internal Medicine