PRIMARY IMMUNODEFICIENCY - Overview, Facts, Types, Symptoms - Watsons Health


Primary immunodeficiency disorders are also called primary immune disorders or primary immunodeficiencies. They weaken the immune system, letting infections and other health issues occur easily.

Some people with primary immunonodefiency are born missing the body’s immune protection or with an immune system that malfunctions, making them more prone to bacteria and other microorganisms that can cause infection.

Some forms of primary immunodeficiencies are so mild that they can go unnoticed for years. Other types are severe enough that they are discovered soon after an affected baby is born.

Medications can improve the immune system in many types of primary immunodeficiency disorders. Research is in the process, aiming to discover better medications and strengthen the quality of life of people with this condition.


People with a primary immunodeficiency may have more persistent infections that are hard to cure. You may also get infections that a person with a healthy immune system likely wouldn’t get, such as opportunistic infections.

Signs and symptoms of primary immunodeficiency can include:

  • Frequent and recurrent pneumonia, bronchitis, sinus infections, ear infections, meningitis or skin infections
  • Inflammation and infection of internal organs
  • Blood disorders, such as low platelet counts or anemia
  • Digestive problems, such as cramping, loss of appetite, nausea, and diarrhea
  • Delayed growth and development
  • Autoimmune disorders, such as lupus, rheumatoid arthritis or type 1 diabetes


Your doctor will ask about your history of illnesses and whether any close relatives have an inherited immune system disorder. Your doctor will also perform a physical examination.

Tests used to diagnose an immune disorder include:


  • Blood tests
  • Prenatal testing

In some instances, the genetic defect should be determined. DNA testing should be done.


Medications for primary immunodeficiency include drugs that support the immune system and those that treat the root cause of immune problems. In some cases, the primary immune disorder is related to some severe diseases, such as an autoimmune disorder or cancer, which also need to be treated.

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