Immune Deficiency

A properly functioning immune system is the body’s defense mechanism against “attacks” by viruses, bacteria, and fungi. When the immune system does not perform correctly or a part is missing, a variety of conditions can result, including allergies or immunodeficiency diseases. Immunodeficiency diseases involve weakened immune systems and result in recurrent infections among other health issues. Primary immunodeficiency diseases (PIDs) are rare, inherited conditions. Serious PIDs are usually diagnosed at a very young age, while milder forms can go unnoticed until adulthood. Immune disorders caused by outside factors instead of genetics are considered secondary immunodeficiency diseases (SIDs). They are more common and can stem from HIV, chemotherapy, diabetes, cancer, burns, or malnutrition.

Symptoms

No one-size-fits-all set of immunodeficiency symptoms exists. What does bind the diseases together is that patients tend to suffer from infections that are recurrent, long-lasting, severe, and tough to treat. These infections can occur anywhere in the body — the skin, the ears, the sinuses, the lungs, the respiratory system, the brain, the spinal cord, or the urinary or gastrointestinal tracts. Some disorders will affect multiple organs.

Causes

PIDs are hereditary conditions caused by gene mutations or an unknown genetic susceptibility. SIDs directly result from a primary illness or outside factor.

Diagnosis & Treatment Options

Call Greater Austin Allergy for an evaluation if you get infections more frequently than others; if they seemingly take forever to clear up; or if they are severe or unusual. Our physicians have extensive training and expertise in immunology and can work through your family medical history, as well as conduct tests that will provide a clearer picture of what’s behind your recurrent infections.

Treatment for immunodeficiency diseases involves managing and preventing infections, boosting the immune system, and targeting the source of the immune problem when possible. We will craft an individualized treatment plan with a goal of getting your immune disorder under control so that you can get back to a full and healthy life.

Immune Deficiency Facts

  • Researchers have identified more than 300 types of primary immunodeficiency disorders, and they continue to find more.

    Source: The Mayo Clinic
  • About 60% of people with primary immunodeficiency disorders are male.

    Source: www.merckmanuals.com
  • Around six million people live with a PID worldwide but between 70-90% are undiagnosed.

    Source: www.immunology.org
  • When undernutrition causes weight to decrease to less than 80% of recommended weight, the immune system is often impaired. A decrease to less than 70% usually results in severe impairment.

    Source: www.merckmanuals.com