Primary immunodeficiency is a disorder in which part of the body's immune system is missing or does not function normally. To be considered a primary, the cause of the immune deficiency must not be caused by other disease, drug treatment, or environmental exposure to toxins. Most primary immunodeficiencies are genetic disorders and many people are born missing some of the body's immune defenses, which leaves them more susceptible to germs that can cause infections. Immunodeficiencies they weaken the immune system, allowing infections and other health problems to occur more easily. Some forms of primary immunodeficiency are so mild they may go unnoticed for years. Other types are severe enough that they're discovered almost as soon as an affected baby is born.
The precise symptoms of a primary immunodeficiency depend on the type of defect. Generally, the most common symptoms that lead to the diagnosis of an immunodeficiency include an increased susceptibility to infections, recurrent or persistent illnesses or developmental delay as a result of infection. Particular organ problems (e.g. diseases involving the skin, heart, facial development and skeletal system) may be present in certain conditions. A person suffering from primary immunodeficiency may have infections that are more frequent, longer lasting or harder to treat than are the infections of someone with a normal immune system. They may also get infections that a person with a healthy immune system likely would not get.
Many primary immunodeficiency disorders are passed down from one or both parents. Problems in the DNA cause many of the immune system defects in primary immunodeficiency.
The only known risk factor is having a family history of a primary immune deficiency disorder, which increases your risk of having the condition
Complications caused by a primary immunodeficiency disorder vary, depending on what type you have. They can include:
- Recurrent infections
- Autoimmune disorders
- Damage to heart, lungs, nervous system or digestive tract
- Slowed growth
- Increased risk of cancer
- Death from serious infection
Because primary immune disorders are caused by genetic defects, there's no way to prevent them. However, several stapes can be taken in order to prevent infections. Those steps include:
- Practice good hygiene;
- Take care of your teeth;
- Eat right;
- Be physically active;
- Get enough sleep;
- Manage stress;
- Avoid exposure to colds or other infections.