Do you have an immune deficiency?
If you find yourself constantly sick or have a hard time fighting an infection, you may have an immune deficiency. Also called “primary immunodeficiency,” this condition means that a defect exists in one or more of the body’s normal immune system functions. This makes it hard for your immune system to do its job and leaves you
Immune deficiency affects upwards of 1 million Americans and 10 million people worldwide, according to statistics compiled by the American Academy of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology. There are approximately 150 known primary immunodeficiency diseases (called PIDDs).
Signs of an immune deficiency may include reoccurring, persistent or unusually severe infections of the skin, sinuses, throat, ears, lungs, or urinary or intestinal tracts. Those with immune deficiency problems typically require much longer courses of antibiotics to successfully treat a particular infection than is required by patients with normally functioning immune systems.
In order to determine whether you may have an immune deficiency, your allergist or immunologist will thoroughly review your family’s medical history and may order a physical exams, blood tests or vaccines developed to test the immune response. Immune deficiency treatment options may include antibody replacement therapy, often called IVIG therapy. This involves an infusion of antibodies to essentially replace the antibodies that your body fails to produce.
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