Immune Deficiency Disorders

The body’s immune system is made up of lymphoid tissue, which can be found in the lymph nodes, tonsils, bone marrow, and parts of the spleen and the gastrointestinal system. A healthy, functioning immune system protects your body from harmful substances, known as antigens. Some of the most common antigens include bacteria, viruses, environmental toxins, and cancerous cells.

If you suffer from an immune deficiency disorder, your body cannot produce enough antibodies to fight the antigens, putting you at risk for further illness or infection.

What Causes Immune Deficiency Disorders?

Immune deficiency disorders typically fall into two main categories: inherited and acquired.

Inherited immunodeficiency disorders often occur when the body doesn’t produce enough antibodies, or when white blood cells, known as T or B lymphocytes, don’t function properly.

Acquired immunodeficiency disorders can occur as a result of certain diseases or conditions, such as complement deficiencies, malnutrition, cancer, or HIV infection.

The most common immune deficiency in adults is common variable immune deficiency which occurs for unknown reasons, more commonly in patients with allergies. It is characterized by a lack the most common antibody that fights infection, IgG. It is easily treated by administering replacement immune globulin (IgG) on a regular basis.

What Are the Symptoms of an Immune Deficiency Disorder?

Although symptoms can vary depending on the nature of the immunodeficiency disorder, some of the most common signs include:

  • Recurring or persistent infections, such as bronchitis, sinus infections, or ear infections
  • Slow or poor response to treatment for common infections
  • Delayed or incomplete recovery from sickness
  • Certain types of infections, including pneumonia or repeated yeast infections

Diagnosis and Treatment of Immunodeficiency Disorders

In order to determine whether or not you suffer from an immune deficiency disorder, the board-certified physicians at the Center for Allergy and Asthma of Georgia typically perform tests that measure the following indicators:

  • Immunoglobin levels in the blood
  • White blood cell and/or lymphocyte counts
  • Complement levels in the blood
  • Protein electrophoresis

Once our doctors have determined that you have a weakened immune system, the next step is to develop a treatment plan that prevents infection and addresses and diseases that may occur. In order to manage existing infections, we may recommend antibiotics and over-the-counter medications, such as ibuprofen or other anti-inflammatories.

To help bolster the immune system, our doctors may recommend treatment techniques such as immunoglobin therapy, gamma interferon therapy, or growth factors. The specified plan of treatment will depend largely on your individual symptoms.

Contact the Center for Allergy and Asthma of Georgia

If you suffer from recurring or persistent infections, there are treatment options that can help you live and feel better. To request an appointment with one of the board-certified physicians at the Center for Allergy and Asthma of Georgia, call (404) 994-3574, or fill out our online contact form today.

The Center for Allergy and Asthma of Georgia is proud to serve patients in the following greater Atlanta communities: Alpharetta, Smyrna/Vinings, Vinings, Marietta, Villa Rica, Hiram, Douglasville, Carrollton, Newnan, Acworth / Kennesaw, and Peachtree City / Fayetteville, Georgia.