In the past, immunodeficiency disorders among children were almost always fatal. This kind of disorders inhibits the body from fighting diseases and infections. This makes it easy for individuals with these disorders to catch bacterial infections and viruses. A child’s immune system is not very strong thus, if primary immunodeficiency (PI) is undiagnosed, it can lead to a lot of health problems. A survey by the Immune Deficiency Foundation (IDF) reported that almost a quarter million of individuals in the USA had been diagnosed with primary immunodeficiency disease. These disorders affect both children and adults but the focus of this article is on children.
Doctors and scientists are working round the clock so as to figure out methods of diagnosing these disorders in children before it’s too late. Modern medicine characterizes immunodeficiency as a disorder that causes patients to be quite vulnerable to mild childhood illnesses like enterovirus and rotavirus. This notion makes it easier for doctors to detect genetic immunodeficiency and thus save lives. It is believed that 1 in 2000 children under the age of 18 suffers from PI.
So far, scientists have discovered over 180 different primary immunodeficiency disorders and this number is still rising. The good news, however, is that it cannot be spread or caught. The disease is considered to be genetic and this means it comes from one or both of the parents. This can be looked upon as good news in the sense that at least parents do not have to worry about their children catching this disease at school or anywhere else.
Perhaps the biggest problem about PI is that it is not easy to diagnose. The victims of this disorder are simply more vulnerable to common infections. This makes it hard to diagnose because even children without the disorder get sick frequently. The IDF reported that diagnosis can take up to 12.4 years from when the symptoms began. Parents thus need to watch the health of their children and take them for regular check-ups, especially if they seem too susceptible to common diseases such as the common cold, for example. Doctors will usually take blood and skin tests to check if the child's immune system is working properly.
If a primary immunodeficiency disorder is not diagnosed in time, it can lead to permanent damage in the patient's organs like the ears or lungs. Common infections among Pl patients include recurrent bronchitis, pneumonia, sinus infections, meningitis, ear infections and skin infections.
Many people make the mistake of thinking that these two kinds of medical conditions are the same. The main difference, however, is that immunodeficiency denotes a non-functional immune system while auto-immune diseases occur when the immune system violently attacks normal tissues within the body.