What is immunodeficiency?
One of the main functions of the immune system is to protect and defend the body. Immune deficiencies are a set of disorders where certain portions of the immune system are low or are not working properly. An analogy is to think of the immune system like a basketball team. Are all the players on the basketball court? If so, how many are on court and are they all working as a team or are some just sitting in the middle of the court doing nothing?
What are signs and symptoms of immunodeficiency?
Some signs and symptoms one may develop with Immunodeficiency are:
- Developing frequent illnesses that are difficult to treat.
- Recurrent infections.
- Needing multiple course of antibiotics to cure an illness, whether it be orally or through IV.
- Poor growth.
- Family history of immunodeficiency. Some immunodeficiencies are hereditary, while other are not.
- In some cases symptoms present at infancy are diagnosed early, while others may not be apparent until much later in life.
How do you diagnose immunodeficiency?
Diagnosing an immunodeficiency can be a difficult and an extensive process for some individuals, since there are over 200 types of immunodeficiencies. It is generally diagnosed by the patients history and blood work. Often times preliminary blood work will be ordered. After lab work is received and reviewed the doctor may find it appropriate to vaccinate the patient and then a month later have labs drawn again to see if the body responded appropriately to the vaccine. There are many different ways to assess for immunodeficiency, this is just one example.
Is there treatment?
There are treatments available for immune deficiencies depending on the type of immune deficiency someone has. An immunologist can help guide the patient on a treatment plan.
If you have any questions regarding immunodeficiency please call Rocky Mountain Allergy, Asthma, and Immunology at 801-775-9800.