Our immune system protects our body from germs, viruses, and other threats. But sometimes, it gets sidetracked and does not function properly. When this happens, it can result in an immune deficiency (or sometimes called immunodeficiency) disorder. According to James Fernandez an immunologist from Cleveland Clinic, immunodeficiency disorders weaken the immune system’s ability to defend our body against foreign or abnormal cells. This will result inSchedule an appointment a higher risk of infection that develops and recur more frequently, are more severe, and last longer than usual.
It is important to note that some immunodeficiency disorders can shorten one’s life span while others persist throughout life. Furthermore, there a few that cannot affect the life span of a person and can be resolved with or without treatment.
There are many different causes leading to the impairment of the immune system. The most common causes of immune deficiency worldwide include factors such as malnutrition, severe burns, poor sanitary conditions, and human immune deficiency virus (HIV) infection. Old age can also be one of the causes of immune deficiency. As people age, the immune system becomes less effective in several ways. Other causes of immune deficiency may include medications, radiotherapy, stress after surgery, and malignant tumors of the bone marrow, and the lymph nodes.
As mentioned earlier, people who have an immune deficiency are more susceptible to get infections and tend to have one infection after another, which leads to having an immunodeficiency disorder. Although each disorder has unique symptoms that can be frequent or chronic, some of the common symptoms may include:
If these symptoms are difficult to treat, don’t respond to medications, or don’t completely get better over time, you might need to to a doctor or an immunologist to test for an immunodeficiency disorder.
If you think that you have an immunodeficiency disorder, then you need to consult an allergist or an immunologist. He or she might perform the following to determine whether you have an immune disorder or not:
The doctor may also perform an antibody test by giving you a vaccine and see how your immune system will respond. The doctor will test your blood for any reaction to the vaccine a few days or weeks later after the test was performed.
The treatment for each immunodeficiency disorder will depend on specific conditions. For instance, AIDS can cause different infections. Your doctor may prescribe different medications for each infection. It is also possible that the doctor will give you an antiretroviral to treat an HIV infection if needed.
Research in primary immunodeficiency disorders is now making great strides especially in improving treatment options. Some of the treatments available for immunodeficiency disorders include transplantation (bone marrow, stem cell, thymus), antibody replacement, and preventative antibiotics. Gene therapy has also been proven to be a success in treating some specific types of PIDD.
If you or someone you know has manifested symptoms that were mentioned above, it is best to seek help from an allergist or immunologist. If you don’t happen to know one, then you may visit Dr. Paul Jantzi in College Station. He is board-certified in allergy and immunology with prior training in pediatrics and internal medicine. He provides professional allergy, asthma, and immunology services to clients at numerous locations in the Brazos Valley region. Schedule an appointment with him and let him treat your immune deficiency disorder.
American Academy of Allergy Asthma & Immunology
MSD Manual Consumer Version