Immunodeficiency disorders

Alternative Names


Definition of Immunodeficiency disorders

Immunodeficiency disorders occur when the body’s immune response is reduced or absent.

Causes, incidence, and risk factors

The immune system is made up of lymphoid tissue in the body, which includes the bone marrow, lymph nodes, thymus, tonsils, and parts of the spleen and gastrointestinal tract. In addition, there are proteins and cells in the blood that are part of the immune system.


The symptoms vary with the specific disorder.

Signs and tests

Your doctor might think you have an immunodeficiency disorder if you have:


The goal of treatment is to prevent infections and treat any disease and infections that do develop.

Expectations (prognosis)

Some immunodeficiency disorders are mild and result in occasional illness. Others are severe and may be fatal. Immunosuppression that results from medications is often reversible once the medication is stopped.


David C. Dugdale, III, MD, Professor of Medicine, Division of General Medicine, Department of Medicine, University of Washington School of Medicine; Stuart I. Henochowicz, MD, FACP, Associate Clinical Professor of Medicine, Division of Allergy, Immunology, and Rheumatology, Georgetown University Medical School. Also reviewed by David Zieve, MD, MHA, Medical Director, A.D.A.M., Inc. – 5/2/2010


ADAM Medical Encyclopedia

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