Some patients who come into our offices tell us: “I feel like my immune system just crashed after that.” The “that” can be any number of triggers that bring on what is medically termed Primary Immunodeficiency (PI). It may happen after a severe or prolonged illness – or a traumatic experience.
People who insist their immune systems are not functioning properly are usually right. We find that our patients typically have an intimate knowledge about what is happening within their bodies. When your immune system “crashes,” it’s hard to miss that. There are telltale trends that confirm what you are experiencing.
Diagnosing Primary Immunodeficiency can be difficult, but at Water’s Edge Natural Medicine, our naturopathic approach to Primary Immunodeficiency can help you turn things around. Compile your list of symptoms, and call Water’s Edge Natural Medicine in Seattle, WA at (206) 966-4522 or contact us online.
The immune systems of people with Primary Immunodeficiency (PI) are not functioning normally. These individuals are more likely to contract infections – from viruses to bacterial infections – and not easily recover, which means they tend to get very sick from illnesses that most people’s immune systems can dispatch with ease.
Primary Immunodeficiency is a term that covers an array of immune system disorders and autoimmune diseases, but it is in itself sometimes considered an autoimmune disease. Technically, there are more than 400 different types of conditions that fall under the umbrella of Primary Immunodeficiency.
Because these conditions vary in severity and symptoms, they are not always easy to diagnose, which affects how early they are detected.
The cause of Primary Immunodeficiency is unknown, but researchers continue to explore what might trigger PI. What doctors understand is that it is a complex immune dysfunction that manifests as a variety of conditions – including autoimmune disease. As with other autoimmune conditions, there can be multiple causes or risk factors.
Immune conditions and autoimmune diseases are known to cluster in families. Primary Immunodeficiency disorders are often inherited — passed down from one or both of your parents due to defects in the genetic code.
PI conditions also cluster in individuals – if you have one autoimmune disease, you may be prone to have multiple ones. That is why it is important to educate yourself about causes and triggers of autoimmune disease in general – and the different types that can develop.
Because symptoms and severity can vary, it is hard to tease out which symptoms are connected to Primary Immunodeficiency or some other illness that is completely unconnected to PI. You may be taking a second look at common symptoms and wondering if you have Primary Immunodeficiency. The answer is probably no. Some of these issues can be symptoms of any number of medical conditions. Your symptoms – taken in context – only inform a possible diagnosis of Primary Immunodeficiency with a specialist who is experienced in diagnosing and treating this complex condition.
One aspect of Primary Immunodeficiency is that people with PI are more likely to contract certain conditions. These include:
Primary Immunodeficiency can present with symptoms ranging from fatigue to diarrhea to skin problems. Symptoms vary according to the type of immune dysfunction each individual patient is experiencing. Because PI can vary in type, severity and symptoms, it is not always easy to diagnose.
Because of that, we look for trends in your body’s reaction to illness and infection. For example, in people with Primary Immunodeficiency, infections often exhibit the following characteristics:
You may also have a family history or present day family members with similar immunity issues. If you experience any of these trends in your immune response, you need to be evaluated for Primary Immunodeficiency or other autoimmune conditions.
We recommend you compile a complete list of your symptoms, medical conditions and medications before your first consultation. We will review your medical history, lifestyle factors, current medications and other health concerns. We may employ certain blood tests to rule out other conditions that may be causing your symptoms.
If you are diagnosed with Primary Immunodeficiency, working with a naturopathic physician who understands the complexity of autoimmune diseases like Primary Immunodeficiency – as well as the complex array of treatment options that will maximize a healthy immune response in your body – is critical.
Our naturopathic approach to Primary Immunodeficiency – as well as many other autoimmune diseases - is life changing. Conventional medicine treats symptoms, but naturopathic medicine looks at the person as a whole, assessing factors ranging from digestive health to stress levels. Our goal is to enable you to overcome autoimmune disorders like Primary Immunodeficiency. We use targeted testing for accurate diagnoses that assist us in developing our treatment plans.
At Water’s Edge Natural Medicine, treating Primary Immunodeficiency and its symptoms will vary with each individual patient. Why? Because your type of immune disorder or autoimmune disease will likely not be the same as any other patient we treat. Your diagnosis will be specific to you, so your treatment plan should be also.
Our goal at Water’s Edge is to incorporate healing regimens free of the side effects that come with conventional medical treatment. Since your immune system resides in your gut, healing any issues with your digestive system will be an important step, but there are many other approaches, including:
One of the defining characteristics of many immune disorders is the inability to produce immunoglobulins, more commonly known as antibodies. These are your body's “cellular warriors” who fight off infection. With a weak front line of defense, the “enemy” invades and you get sick.
The answer is known as Immunoglobulin Therapy. For conditions like CVID, Wiskott-Aldrich syndrome, IgA deficiency, this replacement therapy supplements your antibodies with a purified batch; think of them as reinforcements in the battle against infection.
These antibodies are either injected subcutaneously (under the skin) known as SCIG or via an IV drip known as IVIG. Patients will need to repeat these treatments for the duration of their lifetime to see continued results, sometimes weekly or even every other day.
It’s also just as important that your treating physician is familiar with natural health approaches and understands not only the right treatments, but which ones should be avoided. People with Primary Immunodeficiency, for example, should avoid certain supplements because they may increase the immune system response and trigger Primary Immunodeficiency symptoms.
It may also be advisable to avoid specific triggers that can make symptoms worse. But not everyone has the same reaction or the same triggers. Everything about Primary Immunodeficiency is specific to the individual and must be evaluated individually. We can recommend a course of treatment that best fits your needs.
At Water’s Edge Natural Medicine, we offer the most up-to-date and comprehensive testing and treatment to bring renewed health and address the overwhelming and even life-threatening symptoms of Primary Immunodeficiency.
If you have symptoms or a diagnosis of Primary Immunodeficiency, we have experience in treating autoimmune diseases and other immune conditions. We invite your questions, so reach out to us. We can help with treatment options that can restore your normal immune function and restore you to health.
Water's Edge Natural Medicine
1000 2nd Ave, Suite 2920
Seattle, WA 98104
Phone: (206) 966-4522
Fax: (206) 283-1924
Serving patients in Seattle, WA and the surrounding King and Snohomish County communities including: Queen Anne, Mercer Island, Medina, Bellevue, Redmond, Snohomish, Kirkland, Edmonds.
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