The immune system is the first line defense of the body against invaders, diseases and disorders that may affect the body and it is majorly constituted of white blood cells and lymphatic cells (T-cells and B-cells) which are capable of reactive with self, i.e. antigens. Immune system diseases arise as a result of compromise of the immune system. Problems with the immune system may cause systemic organ failure if it progresses beyond control.

Immune system diseases ranges from bacterial, viral, fungal infectious diseases to auto-immune diseases where healthy tissues are mistaken for intruders into the body’s system.

Immune System Diseases
Immune System Diseases

Autoimmune diseases can be hard to diagnose and treat especially when they have a long history or genetic background, examples of which are lupus erythematosus and hashimoto’s diseases.

Weak immune system could be caused by immunodeficiency diseases such as HIV/AIDs.

Immune system diseases and disorders

Immune system disorders are classified into 3 groups namely:

1. Autoimmune diseases

2. Immunodeficiency diseases (weak immune system).

3. Overactive immune system

1. Autoimmune diseases

Autoimmune disorders may result from overly active immune system which may end up attacking body tissues. Such as can be seen in thyroid syndromes (grave’s disease where the body produces thyroxin in excess thus leading to overly active and hyper-metabolic rates.

This may cause frontal swelling of the gland in the neck and many other side-effects.

Examples of autoimmune disorders are lupus, diabetes mellitus I and rheumatoid arthritis.

a) Lupus

This is a systemic inflammatory disease which has strong debilitating effect on the body. It has been linked to rheumatic arthritis(inflammation of bone and supporting tissues in the lower limbs), eczema and vasculitis (inflammation of blood vessels which may result in tissue damage. It has also been linked to the side effect of drugs and pollens (in rare cases).

b) Rheumatoid arthritis

This is also another instance of immune system disease characterized by inflammation and swelling at body joints. Auto-antibody referred to as rheumatoid factor has been linked to the development of this immune system disease.

Other immune system diseases in this category are:

  • Pernicious anemia
  • Dermatomyositis
  • Sjogren syndrome
  • Reactive arthritis
  • Celiac disease
  • Addison disease
  • Multiple sclerosis

2. Immunodeficiency diseases

a) Severe combined immunodeficiency (SCID)

This example of autoimmune disorders also called bubble boy disease which derive its name from bubble plastic infants are kept after birth of that are diagnose of having this immune system disorder. It is the commonest form immune system disease at birth and affects infants more than adults. It exposes children to more risk of developing recurrent infections.

b) Temporary immunodeficiency diseases

This are diseases that result from temporary weakness of the immune system. Diseases such as mononucleosis, flu virus and measles may result from weakened immune system.

3. Overactive immune system

This is another instance of autoimmune disorders characterized by hyper- reactivity to harmless substances such as pollens, dust, molds and certain food types. These substances are referred to as allergens. This may result in weak immune system over a long haul.

Rhinitis and atopic dermatitis are 2 prominent medical conditions that may arise from overactive immune system.

Other immune system disorders in this category are:

  • Psoriasis
  • Grave’s disease
  • Myasthenia gravis
  • Guillain-Barre syndrome

Immune system disorders may be treated using immunosuppresive drugs containing cytokine blockade and anti-CD20 therapies especially in cases where the immune system is overactive.

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