Frequent infections are a primary symptom of immunodeficiency, but this complex health problem also leads to symptoms that mimic allergies and asthma. With expertise in immune disorders, allergies, and asthma, Richard Herrscher, MD, and Maryam Saifi, MD, at AIR Care are exceptionally qualified to diagnose the true cause of your symptoms and provide optimal treatment for immunodeficiency. If you have questions about immunodeficiency or you’d like to schedule an appointment, call one of the offices in Dallas or Plano, Texas, or use the online booking feature.
Immune system problems fall into two broad categories: overactivity or underactivity. Allergies and autoimmune diseases are examples of an overactive immune system.
Immunodeficiency refers to an immune system that’s underactive or weak. This problem develops when key components of your immune system, such as white blood cells and specialized proteins, can’t fight off bacteria, viruses, toxins, and illness because they’re damaged or not functioning properly.
Primary immunodeficiency diseases are directly caused by a problem with your immune system. There are more than 300 primary immunodeficiency diseases. Many are inherited but not diagnosed until late childhood or into adulthood. Getting a late diagnosis is common because it takes many years before an identifiable pattern of symptoms appears.
Secondary immunodeficiency diseases are caused by an underlying health condition that weakens your immune system. AIDS and viral hepatitis are two examples of secondary immunodeficiency diseases.
The different immunodeficiency diseases each have their own set of symptoms. However, all immunodeficiency diseases make you vulnerable to infections. As a result, it’s common to have symptoms such as:
When you have an immunodeficiency disease, your respiratory symptoms may hide allergy symptoms, making it hard to get an accurate diagnosis.
The best way to get to the source of your symptoms is with a thorough exam performed by Dr. Herrscher or Dr. Saifi, who specialize in allergies and immunodeficiency diseases.
After diagnosing a primary immunodeficiency disease, most patients receive intravenous or subcutaneous gamma globulin. In many cases, you’ll need to keep getting this treatment for the rest of your life.
Gamma globulin, also called immunoglobulin G, refers to a group of infection-fighting antibodies that are normally found in your bloodstream. When you have an immunodeficiency, however, your levels are low, so the first line of treatment is gamma globulin to boost your immune system and help you fight infections.
You may need additional treatment that targets the underlying disease or immune defect. For example, some patients benefit from bone marrow or stem cell transplants, while others need additional antibiotics for specific infections.
If you have frequent infections, call AIR Care or schedule an appointment for a thorough evaluation of your immune system.