Immunodeficiency disorders occur when the immune system doesn’t function properly or work at all to defend the body from infection. Causes of primary immunodeficiency stem from heredity or genetics while second immunodeficiency can occur because of environmental factors.
Primary immunodeficiency disorders are present at birth and become evident in infants or young children, The Merck Manual reported
. Secondary immunodeficiency happens later in life and could result from medications used to treat other disorders, such as diabetes or HIV infection. Other causes of secondary immunodeficiency disorders include chemotherapy, malnutrition or severe burns, according to the American Academy of Allergy, Asthma & Immunology
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Symptoms of primary immunodeficiency include recurrent infections that are difficult to treat, poor growth development, frequent respiratory infections that lead to pneumonia, multiple treatment with antibiotics because of infections, or a family history of the disorder, the AAAAI explained. Some results of a primary immunodeficiency include autoimmune diseases such as rheumatoid arthritis, type 1 diabetes, and lupus.
Health problems occur from primary immunodeficiency because the immune system is affected, allowing infections to invade the body more easily without a defense from immunity cells. Sometimes the types of primary immunodeficiency aren’t noticed for years, but the disease can be spotted in infants when the signs are severe, the Mayo Clinic noted
Causes of primary immunodeficiency include mutations of genes that affect the immune system, according to The Merck Manual. It hinders or destroys white blood cells that produce antibodies or defend the body against abnormal cells. Cells that ingest and kill microorganisms are also affected. Proteins that kill harmful bacteria may fall prey to mutations in the immune system.
Components that play a role in protecting the body through the immune system may be missing, malfunctioning or reduced in numbers so they don’t work effectively.
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Causes of secondary immunodeficiency may come from the use of immune suppressants. These drugs may be used to treat autoimmune diseases in which the body and immune system attack the body’s own tissues. These drugs along with chemotherapy and radiation therapy suppress the immune system, which can lead to immunodeficiency.
Certain diseases can cause immunodeficiency, The Merck Manual stated. They might include cancers, leukemia, measles, bacterial infections, diabetes, chronic kidney disease, liver failure, alcoholism, and other disorders.
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