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Immunology Disorders

An immunology disorder is a condition or disease that is caused by some dysfunction in your immune system. There is a wide range of different types of immunology disorders. 

Here is an overview of the different types of immunology disorders.

Common Variable Immunodeficiency (CVID)

Common variable immunodeficiency (CVID) is a genetic condition that weakens the immune system and results in frequent infections. It is considered a primary immunodeficiency disease (PIDD). It causes low levels of antibodies in the body, which is why people with CVID experience frequent infections. 

CVID impacts both males and females. The condition isn’t usually diagnosed adequately until adulthood but can emerge in children and teenagers. 

CVID is caused by a genetic mutation in the immune system genes. This defect results in your body producing a low level of immunoglobulins, such as immunoglobulin G (IgG). Low IgG levels make it hard for your body to fight infections. 

Around 10% of CVID cases are hereditary; the rest are random genetic mutations or changes. This genetic change can happen suddenly and without any apparent reason. 

Learn More About Common Variable Immunodeficiency (CVID)

Immunoglobulin A Deficiency

Immunoglobulin A (IgA) is an antibody blood protein crucial to your immune system. Having an IgA deficiency means you either have no IgA in your blood or very low levels. Not having enough IgA in your body makes fighting off a wide range of illnesses tough. 

A deficiency in IgA can contribute to asthma and allergies since IgA is found primarily in your respiratory and digestive tracts. It is also found in breastmilk, saliva, and tears. A deficiency in IgA has also been linked to autoimmune health problems. 

IgA deficiency can be passed down in families, making it a genetic issue. It can also be caused by the medications you are taking. Sometimes, however, there is no apparent cause.

Learn More About IgA Deficiency

Hyper IgE Syndrome (HIES)

Hyper IgE syndrome (HIES) is caused by a genetic mutation in the STAT3 or DOCK8 genes. These are the known mutations that cause this syndrome, although there may be other mutations that also contribute to this syndrome. 

Hyper IgE syndrome can make it hard for you to fight off bacteria and fungi, resulting in severe infections. Serious infections with HIES often impact the lungs and skin. 

Hyper IgE Syndrome (HIES)

There is a range of symptoms and signs that indicate you may have hyper IgE syndrome, including the following: 

  • Abscesses in the skin or lungs
  • Dry, itchy skin (eczema)
  • Frequent skin infections
  • Frequent pneumonia
  • Elevated IgE
  • Yeast infections

Complications of Hyper IgE Syndrome

There are different complications you may experience with HIES, depending on the type of genetic mutation you have. 

DOCK8 Mutation

  • Asthma
  • Allergic disorders
  • Lymphoma
  • Skin cancer
  • Viral skin infections, such as herpes, molluscum, and warts

STAT3 Mutations

  • Abnormal curving of the spine
  • Changes in blood vessels
  • Delays in losing primary teeth
  • Increase in broken bones
  • Lymphoma
  • Lung cysts

Treating Hyper IgE Syndrome

With hyper IgE syndrome, the focus is on stopping the symptoms. There are multiple ways to achieve this. 

  • Use antibiotics to treat infections.
  • Use cream medicines for skin rash.
  • Check lung function regularly with imaging and spirometry.

You may need to take medications to prevent infections. Some individuals may need IV medication, called IVIg, to provide antibodies that fight off infections. 

Hypereosinophilic Syndrome (HES)

Hypereosinophilic syndrome (HES) is a group of blood disorders. With HES, you have a high number of eosinophils, which are white blood cells that support your immune system. When you have high levels of eosinophils, it can cause tissue and organ damage. 

HES can be a life-threatening condition if it is left untreated.

Causes of HES

HES tends to run in families, so if someone else in your family has it, there is a chance you have it. HES is also associated with some types of cancer. 

Symptoms of HES

With HES, you should pay attention to early warning signs, such as: 

  • Excess coughing
  • Breathlessness
  • Rash
  • Fever
  • Muscle pain
  • Fatigue

Diagnosing HES

Your eosinophil levels can increase due to many factors, such as allergies, reactions to medication, and infections. That is why it is crucial to give a complete medical and travel history to your doctor to rule out any other possibilities for why you have high eosinophil levels before getting a HES diagnosis. 

A range of lab tests can be used to determine if you have HES and rule out other possibilities. This includes: 

  • Allergy tests
  • Blood tests
  • Genetic tests
  • Stool tests
  • X-rays
  • CT scans
  • Echocardiogram
  • MRI

Treatment for HES

With HES, the goal of treatment is to reduce tissue damage. Your treatment depends on your symptoms, the cause of your HES, and the severity of your condition. 

Generally, systemic corticosteroids are the first line of treatment. Other medications used to treat HES include Vincristine, Imatinib, and Hydroxyurea. Many people also take blood-thinning medication to prevent blood clots. 

Sometimes, a bone marrow transplant or stem cell treatment may be necessary. 

Specific Antibody Deficiency

If someone doesn’t produce enough IgG antibodies, they have a Specific Antibody Deficiency. Lacking the ability to produce antibodies can increase upper and lower respiratory infections. This can have a lot of health implications for you. 

SAD is also called partial antibody deficiency and impaired polysaccharide responsiveness.

Treatment for Immunology Disorders in Portland, Oregon

At West Hills Allergy & Asthma Associates, Dr. Anderson-Cowell has more than two decades of experience diagnosing and treating patients with immunology disorders.  Our team can help you get an accurate diagnosis and learn how to manage your immunology disorder. 

If you’re looking for expert diagnostic experience and effective treatment history, Dr. Anderson-Cowell can help. For a consultation, please call (503) 297-4779 or request an appointment online.

9701 SW Barnes Road
Suite 130
Portland, Oregon 97225

(503) 297-4779

Monday - Thursday (Closed Friday)
8:00 AM - 5:30 PM

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