One of the most common signs of primary immunodeficiency is an increased susceptibility to infections. You may have infections that are more frequent, longer lasting or harder to treat than are the infections of someone with a normal immune system. You may also get infections that a person with a healthy immune system likely wouldn't get, which are known as opportunistic infections.
Signs and symptoms differ depending on the particular type of primary immunodeficiency disorder. Signs and symptoms also vary from person to person.
Signs and symptoms of primary immunodeficiency can include:
- Frequent and recurrent pneumonia, bronchitis, sinus infections, ear infections, meningitis or skin infections
- Blood infections
In addition to frequent infections, other problems that may occur include:
- Inflammation and infection of internal organs
- Blood disorders, such as low platelet counts or anemia
- Digestive problems, such as cramping, loss of appetite, nausea and diarrhea
- Delayed growth and development
- Autoimmune disorders, such as lupus, rheumatoid arthritis or type 1 diabetes
When to see a doctor
If your child or you have frequent, recurrent or severe infections or infections that don't respond to treatments, talk to your doctor. Early diagnosis and treatment of primary immune deficiencies can prevent infections that can cause long-term problems.
Jul. 30, 2013
- Primary immunodeficiency. Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health and Human Development. http://www.nichd.nih.gov/publications/pubs/Pages/primary_immuno.aspx. Accessed May 20, 2013.
- Blaese R, et al. Patient and Family Handbook for Primary Immunodeficiency Diseases. 4th ed. Towson, Md.: Immune Deficiency Foundation; 2007. http://primaryimmune.org/about-primary-immunodeficiency-diseases/idf-publications/patient-family-handbook. Accessed May 20, 2013.
- Primary immunodeficiency diseases. American Academy of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology. http://www.aaaai.org/conditions-and-treatments/primary-immunodeficiency-disease.aspx. Accessed May 20, 2013.
- Papadopoulou-Alataki E, et al. Prevention of infection of children and adolescents with primary immunodeficiency disorders. Asian Pacific Journal of Allergy and Immunology. 2012;30:249.
- Pasternak MS. Approach to the adult with recurrent infections. http://www.uptodate.com/home. Accessed May 20, 2013.
- Bonilla FA. Medical management of immune deficiency. http://www.uptodate.com/home. Accessed May 20, 2013.
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