Skip to main content
CIDP Patient Patricia Skinner)

Immunodeficiency & Autoimmune Diseases

Understanding Immunodeficiency & Autoimmune Diseases

Your body’s immune system protects you from dangerous organisms, such as bacteria and viruses, and cancer cells. If such organisms infect an otherwise healthy body, the immune system reacts by producing antibodies and an increased number of specific blood cells (called lymphocytes), which try to overcome the infection. If the immune system cannot react sufficiently to an infection, we say there is an immune deficiency or immunodeficiency. At the other extreme, an overactive immune system can also cause problems: some people have an overactive immune system that attacks the normal healthy cells of the body. This is called an autoimmune reaction. Both scenarios may lead to potentially life-threatening situations. 

  • More than 400

    types of Primary Immunodeficiency (PI) Diseases

  • 9-15 years

    typical length of time between onset of symptoms and a PI diagnosis

  • 1 to 2 per 100,000

    people are diagnosed with CIDP per year

How can we help you?


Primary immunodeficiencies are a large group of hereditary or genetic disorders that impair the normal functioning of the cells of the immune system, rendering the patient unable to fight infections.

Secondary immunodeficiencies occur when the immune system is compromised by an external factor, not a genetic one. External factors may include aging, certain types of cancer, procedures such as transplant, and some medications.

Chronic Inflammatory Demyelinating Polyneuropathy (CIDP)

CIPD is a neurological disorder caused by damage to the myelin sheath of the peripheral nerves. It is often characterized by increasing weakness in the legs and arms.

Idiopathic Thrombocytopenic Purpura (ITP)

ITP is an autoimmune disorder resulting in a low platelet count. Very low platelet counts can lead to increased susceptibility to bleeding.

Guillain-Barré Syndrome (GBS)

GBS is an inflammatory disorder of the peripheral nerves outside the brain and spinal cord. It is characterized by the rapid onset of numbness, weakness, and often paralysis of the legs, arms, breathing muscles, and face.

Kawasaki Disease

Kawasaki Disease is a serious illness characterized by inflammation of blood vessels throughout the body that primarily affects young children and infants.