Category: Patient Education  

Primary Immune Deficiency

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. View a chart of the 10 Warning Signs of Primary Immune Deficiency.