Tags: Health Topics | immune system | disorders | genetic

Do Immune System Disorders Run in Families?

By    |   Saturday, 22 August 2015 11:16 AM

Immune system disorders can sometimes be blamed on mom and dad. Other times they do not have a genetic connection.

The U.S. National Library of Medicine classifies immune system disorders into three different categories: allergy and asthma problems; immune deficiency diseases; and autoimmune diseases.

Autoimmune disorders have a genetic component. They tend to be more prominent in African-American, Hispanic-American and Native-American women, according to the National Institutes of Health’s MedlinePlus website.

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There are more than 80 different types of autoimmune disorders, which are generally classified by a glitch in the body that makes cells in the body attack itself, according to the Office of Women’s Health in the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. Autoimmune disorders can affect a wide variety of systems in the body from the brain to the bladder, stomach, thyroid, and muscles and nerves.

Asthma also runs in families, according to the Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America. Doctors do not really know why some people develop asthma symptoms and others do not. For allergies, parents do not necessarily pass along one allergy to a child, but instead pass on what is called atopy for allergies. This means that a child may be prone to developing allergies because of genetics, but does not necessarily point to specific allergy problems. Environmental factors, such as air quality, are believed to be contributors to problems with allergies and asthma.

Immunodeficiency disorders are much less likely to be inherited, The Merk Manual noted. These disorders of the immune system are more likely to develop over someone’s lifetime. Immunodeficiency disorders can develop after the use of a drug for a long period of time, or after a series of long-term infections. They involve an inability of the body’s immune system to efficiently defend the body from bacteria, viruses, fungi, and cancer cells.

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Immune system disorders can sometimes be blamed on mom and dad. Other times they do not have a genetic connection.
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Saturday, 22 August 2015 11:16 AM
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