Many primary immunodeficiency disorders are inherited — passed down from one or both parents. Problems in the DNA — the genetic code that acts as a blueprint for producing the cells that make up the human body — cause many of the immune system defects in primary immunodeficiency.
There are numerous types of primary immunodeficiency disorders. In fact, research has led to a dramatic increase in the number of recognized primary immunodeficiency disorders in recent years, so they're not as rare as once thought. They can be broadly classified into six groups based on the part of the immune system that's affected:
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- B cell (antibody) deficiencies
- T cell deficiencies
- Combination B and T cell deficiencies
- Defective phagocytes
- Complement deficiencies
- Unknown (idiopathic)
- Primary immunodeficiency. National Institute of Child Health and Human Development. http://www.nichd.nih.gov/publications/pubs/Pages/primary_immuno.aspx. Accessed Nov. 23, 2014.
- About primary immunodeficiencies. Immune Deficiency Foundation. http://primaryimmune.org/about-primary-immunodeficiencies/. Accessed Dec. 2, 2014.
- Pasternack MS. Approach to the adult with recurrent infections. http://www.uptodate.com/home. Accessed Nov. 23, 2014.
- Stiehm ER. Approach to the child with recurrent infections. http://www.uptodate.com/home. Accessed Nov. 23, 2014.
- Primary immunodeficiency diseases. American Academy of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology. http://www.aaaai.org/conditions-and-treatments/primary-immunodeficiency-disease.aspx. Accessed Nov. 23, 2014.
- Berger M. Immune globulin therapy in primary immunodeficiency. http://www.uptodate.com/home. Accessed Nov. 23, 2014.
- General care. Immune Deficiency Foundation. http://primaryimmune.org/about-primary-immunodeficiencies/relevant-info/general-care/. Accessed Nov. 3, 2014.
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