Immune System Diseases
The immune system is the body’s structures and processes that fight disease. Immune system diseases result when the body cannot distinguish between pathogenic invaders and the body’s healthy cells. Some individuals, born with defective immune systems, are highly susceptible to potential death from infections such as by a virus, parasite or bacteria.
Asthma is a common immune system disease, a chronic inflammatory disorder of a person’s airways. Physiologically, an edema, the fluid in the tissue space, causes the airways to narrow. Asthma is an inherited condition, with several chromosomes being implicated in its presence.
Type 1 diabetes is another immune system disease. Individuals are born with the inability to manufacture and use insulin, and Type 1 diabetes is the result of mutations in several chromosomes. Individuals with Type 1 diabetes are highly susceptible to blindness, kidney failure, and heart disease. Diabetes is classified as an autoimmune disorder.
Primary immune deficiency disorders result from genetic mutation. DiGeorge syndrome is an example of a primary immune deficiency. It is a rare, congenital disease causing recurrent infections, heart defects, and characteristic facial features. AIDS is an example of a secondary immune deficiency disorder, as an invading virus that destroys the person’s immune system causes it, leading to death from opportunistic infection.