Primary Immunodeficiency (PI) is a set of more than 80 hereditary disorders
caused by a defect in one or more genes responsible for the development of
key components of the human immune system. It afflicts over 500,000 Americans
(one in every 500) mostly children. PI affects more children than childhood
leukemia and lymphoma combined. PI, when not
addressed immediately, can leave a patient vulnerable to prolonged
illness, permanent organ damage and in more severe cases, death.
Since PI does not
have unique symptoms, no one is sure how many cases go undiagnosed for
long periods of time, but it is estimated that there are another 500,000
PI presents itself
in the symptoms of 'ordinary' childhood illnesses such as sinus and
ear infections, pneumonia, flu, bronchitis and high fevers. The
condition can be overlooked or misdiagnosed as an allergy or common
infection found among newborns such as asthma or bronchitis. Often,
physicians treat each ailment without addressing the underlying cause.
The diseases range in severity from chronic sinusitis to SCIDS, the
so-called 'Bubble Boy' disease.
Click here to learn more about Primary Immunodeficiency.
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