Allergy Associates of Dearborn
Roula H. Daher, M.D.
Allergist located in Dearborn, MI
When your immune system weakens, you have an immunodeficiency that causes frequent infections and results in symptoms that seem like allergies or asthma. Immunodeficiency is a complex problem that requires the care of a specialist like Roula Daher, MD, at Allergy Associates Dearborn. Dr. Daher’s expertise in immunodeficiency diseases and allergies ensures you’ll get an accurate diagnosis and prompt treatment. If you have recurring infections, such as sinusitis, schedule an appointment by calling the office in Dearborn, Michigan, or using the online booking feature.
Immunodeficiency Q & A
What is immunodeficiency?
Immunodeficiency refers to an immune system that doesn’t properly function. This problem develops when key players in the immune system, such as specialized proteins and white blood cells that fight off harmful substances, are missing or too damaged to work.
As a result, you have an immune deficiency, or a weak immune system, that can’t protect you from bacteria, viruses, toxins, and illness.
What are the different types of immunodeficiency diseases?
Immunodeficiency diseases are classified as either primary or secondary. A primary immunodeficiency disease (PID) is one that’s caused by a problem with your immune system.
There are more than 300 PIDs. Most are inherited, yet the condition often isn’t diagnosed until later in childhood or even adulthood. A late diagnosis is common because it takes years for an identifiable pattern of recurring symptoms to develop.
Secondary immunodeficiency diseases occur in response to an underlying health condition that weakens your immune system. AIDS, immune system cancers, and viral hepatitis are a few examples of secondary immunodeficiency diseases.
What symptoms develop due to an immunodeficiency disease?
Each PID has its own symptoms, but all PIDs make you susceptible to infections. As a result, you’ll experience symptoms such as:
- Frequent or hard-to-treat infections
- Recurring sinusitis, ear infections, or pneumonia
- Recurring lung infections, such as bronchitis
- Enlarged lymph nodes
- Frequent skin abscesses
- Weight loss
- Failure to grow and thrive in children
- Digestive system problems like nausea, diarrhea, and cramping
When you have a weakened immune system that’s also trying to mount an allergic response, the symptoms become hard to differentiate. The recurring respiratory symptoms of PID may be mistaken for an allergy, which is one factor that allows a PID to go undetected for years.
The best way to get to the bottom of the problem is with a full examination by Dr. Daher, who specializes in both allergies and immunodeficiency diseases.
How are immunodeficiency diseases treated?
Dr. Daher reviews your medical history, performs a physical examination, and conducts diagnostic tests to get to the underlying cause of your symptoms. If you have an allergy, you’ll learn how to avoid your allergens and receive medications to treat your symptoms. You may also receive allergy shots, depending on the source and severity of your symptoms.
After a PID is diagnosed, treatment focuses on correcting the problem in your immune system. In most cases, PID treatment includes bone marrow transplants and intravenous immunoglobulin replacement. Some patients may also need preventive antibiotics to protect them from infections.
If you frequently have sinusitis or recurring infections, call Allergy Associates Dearborn or schedule an appointment online.