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6 Signs and Symptoms of Primary Immunodeficiency


Immunodeficiency disorders—also known as immune disorders—weaken the immune system, which prevents the body from being able to fight against bacteria, viruses, and parasites. There are two types: primary, which a person is born with; and secondary, which is acquired throughout a person’s life.

Primary immunodeficiency, on which this article will focus, is a term that encompasses more than 200 different disorders that affect different parts of the immune system. The disorders most commonly occur in babies or young children, but in some cases may not present themselves until adulthood. And while the symptoms associated with each type can differ, the following six are among the most common.

1. Frequent Infections

With a compromised immune system, a person with primary immunodeficiency is more susceptible to bacterial and viral infections. Merck Manuals says that respiratory infections—such as sinus infections, or lung infections like pneumonia or bronchitis—tend to develop first.

Infections of the mouth, eyes, ears, skin and digestive tract are also common. According to the Mayo Clinic, those with primary immunodeficiency tend to experience such infections on a recurring basis. The infections may also persist for longer and be harder to treat than in people with healthy immune systems.

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