Primary immunodeficiency diseases cause repeated infections in children and adults that are hard to cure. Up to 1/2 million people in the United States suffer from one of the 70 immune deficiency diseases. Unlike acquired immunodeficiency syndrome (AIDS), these diseases result from naturally occurring defects of the genes that govern immune functions. Defects of the immune system may include poor antibody production or diminished white blood cell counts and function. The general perception that primary immunodeficiency diseases are found only in infancy or early childhood is incorrect. The majority of individuals diagnosed with congenital immune defects are over age 21. IgA deficiency, by far the most common of the primary immunodeficiencies, occurs in 1 of 300 to 1 of 1000 adults. Another impression is that congenital immune defects are rare. However, taken together, the primary immunodeficiency diseases are as common as leukemia and lymphoma. In some ways, immune deficiency and allergies are related. Some immune deficiency patients have eczema while others have recurrent sinus or ear infections.
The 10 Warning Signs of a Primary Immunodeficiency (PI) Are:
- Four or more new ear infections within 1 year.
- Two or more serious sinus infections within 1 year.
- Two or more months on antibiotics with little effect.
- Two or more pneumonias within 1 year.
- Failure of an infant to gain weight or grow normally.
- Recurrent, deep skin or organ abscesses.
- Persistent thrush in mouth or fungal infection on skin.
- Need for intravenous antibiotics to clear infections.
- Two or more deep-seated infections including septicemia.
- A family history of PI.(These warning signs were developed by the Jeffrey Modell Foundation Medical Advisory Board)
Consultation with Primary Immunodeficiency experts is strongly suggested. (Dr. Stadtmauer trained at one of the premier immunodeficiency centers in the world. The immunodeficiency he treats is primary antibody deficient states, especially helping patients with sinus issues and recurrent respiratory infections determine whether the problem is allergic, infectious or immune based).