Overview of Immunodeficiencies

Immunodeficiency disorders disrupt your body’s ability to defend itself against bacteria, viruses, and parasites. There are two types of immunodeficiency disorders: those you are born with (primary) and those that are acquired (secondary). Anything that weakens your immune system can lead to a secondary immunodeficiency disorder.


People who have a family history of primary immunodeficiency disorders have a higher-than-normal risk for developing primary disorders. Examples are:

  • Aging
  • Cancers
  • Chemotherapy
  • HIV
  • Spleen removal

Symptoms of Immunodeficiencies

  • Pinkeye
  • Sinus infections
  • Colds
  • Diarrhea
  • Pneumonia
  • Yeast infections

If these problems do not respond to treatment or you do not completely get better over time, your doctor might test you for an immunodeficiency disorder.


  • Ask you about your medical history
  • Perform a physical exam
  • Determine your white blood cell count
  • Determine your T cell count
  • Determine your immunoglobulin levels

Vaccines can test your immune system response in what is called an antibody test. Your doctor will give you a vaccine. Then they will test your blood for its response to the vaccine a few days or weeks later. 

Treatment for Immunodeficiencies

The treatment for each immunodeficiency disorder will depend on the specific conditions. Treatment commonly includes antibiotics, immunoglobulin therapy, and some antiviral drugs.

For more information or to schedule an appointment, call 314.454.5437 or 800.678.5437 or email us.