Your immune system is a group of protective cells and proteins that are charged with keeping unwanted viruses, infections, and disease out of your body. When unwanted bacteria or germs enter your system, your immune system sends cells to attack them. But if your immune system is not working properly, these cell defenders may not have the manpower to attack and eradicate the bad guys.
When your immune system is deficient or impaired, you have an immunodeficiency disorder. There are hundreds of different types of immunodeficiency disorders and, fortunately, many ways to treat them.
Types of Immunodeficiency Disorders
There are two main types of immunodeficiency disorders. Genetic, or primary, immunodeficiency disorders, are disorders that you’re born with. Acquired immunodeficiency, also called secondary immunodeficiency diseases, are those you acquire or develop later in life.
Primary immune disorders occur when certain fighter or protector cells or proteins are absent at birth. These disorders weaken your immune system, leaving you vulnerable to repeated infections. Some common primary immune disorders include:
- Chronic granulomatous disease (CGD)
- Common variable immunodeficiency (CVID)
- DiGeorge syndrome (DGS)
- Selective IGA deficiency
- Severe combined immunodeficiency (SCID)
- X-linked agammaglobulinemia (XLA)
Acquired immune disorders, which are more common than primary immunodeficiency diseases, are the result of disease, medicine, or injury that impairs your immune system. For example, chemotherapy, radiation, diabetes, or severe burns can lead to immune system deficiency. Acquired immunodeficiency disorders include:
- Cancers of the immune system such as leukemia
- Drug-induced immune deficiency
- Viral hepatitis
- Multiple myeloma, which is a cancer of the plasma cells that produce antibodies
Immunodeficiency Disorder Symptoms
In some cases, it may take months or years to diagnose a primary immunodeficiency disorder. It’s best to get diagnosed and treated as soon as possible to avoid health complications. If a family member has an immunodeficiency disorder, you’re at a higher risk for having one as well.
Each disorder has unique symptoms and signs. Symptoms or signs to be on the lookout for include:
- Slow growth and weight gain in children
- Frequent or unusual infections
- Recurrent eye or ear infections
- Swollen lymph glands
- An enlarged spleen
- Recurrent diarrhea
- Chronic yeast infections
Frequent and chronic cases of the health issues mentioned above are red flags for immunodeficiency disorders. Another sign that you may have an immune disease is if these conditions to don't respond or fully resolve with conventional treatment.
Immunodeficiency Disorder Treatments
Treatment for immunodeficiency disorders includes a combination of treating and preventing infections and boosting your immune system. Treatment recommendations depend on the specific disease.
At AIR Care, allergy specialist and immunologist Dr. Richard Herrscher uses biologic infusion therapy, which replaces the missing infection-fighting antibodies, and other infusion therapies to treat or prevent a variety of conditions. Dr. Herrscher develops a personalized plan to treat your disease and prevent infections and complications.
For more information on symptoms, diagnosis, and treatments for immunodeficiency disorders, call Dr. Herrscher at AIR Care with offices in Dallas and Plano, Texas, or make an appointment online through this website.