Immunodeficiency

Primary Immunodeficiency Disease (PI) can result from a defect in the body’s immune system.  In children, PI is often diagnosed after having unusual infections, severe infections, or very frequent infections. Fortunately, newborn screening has helped to identify very severe immunodeficiency in newborns. In adults, primary immunodeficiency can lead to chronic infections, recurrent infections, or infections that do not respond as well to typical treatment. Our allergy and immunology specialists can help diagnose PI and provide treatments to boost the immune system and prevent infections.

 

TRIGGERS

Individuals with PI may develop infections from viruses, fungi, and bacteria that normally do not cause infections. They may also have a higher likelihood of developing secondary bacterial infections, such as sinus infections or pneumonia, after having viral infections.

SYMPTOMS

Frequent infections, unusual infections, chronic infections, or infections that are difficult to treat are the most common symptoms of PI. There are many types of immunodeficiency that can cause symptoms in many parts of the body. Primary immunodeficiency can also occur as part of other syndromes.

 

TREATMENT

The treatment of PI may include prophylactic antibiotics and immunoglobulin therapy. For certain rare conditions, bone marrow transplant or specific medications may be required. Any coexisting conditions also need to be treated.

 

EOSINOPHILIC DISORDERS

Eosinophils are a type of white blood cell that help fight infections.  They are also a component of your body’s immune system response to allergens and other triggers.  In some individuals, eosinophils can build up in higher than normal levels in certain organs and tissues, causing inflammation.

 

EOSINOPHILIC ESOPHAGITIS (EoE)

Eosinophilic esophagitis (EoE) is a chronic, inflammatory disease of the esophagus caused by a reaction to allergens resulting in a high level of eosinophils.

 

TRIGGERS

  • Food allergies
  • Dust mites, animals, pollen, molds and other environmental allergies

 

SYMPTOMS

Symptoms may be similar to acid reflux symptoms or may be more severe. Symptoms include:

  • Difficulty swallowing
  • Food becomes lodged/stuck in the esophagus
  • Recurring abdominal pain
  • Nausea and Vomiting
  • Failure to thrive in young children
  • Poor appetite
  • Trouble sleeping due to abdominal pain, nausea or reflux

 

TREATMENT

Patients suspected of having EoE are prescribed medications used to treat acid reflux called proton pump inhibitors (PPIs). They are then referred to gastroenterologists for diagnosis. Allergists and gastroenterologists manage the condition together with a combination of allergen avoidance and medications to control inflammation.  Allergists do testing to determine if there are particular foods triggering the condition. If these foods are eliminated, the symptoms often improve or resolve. There is evidence that suggests that treating nasal allergies may improve EoE symptoms, as well.