Thursday, March 7, 2013
IgA Deficiency and What it Means
I have talked about being IgA D but I don't say what that really means, so I went to many web sites to double check what I knew and have broken it down to almost readable levels. Immunoglobulin A deficiency is where there is a low level of IgA in the Serum (blood). This is commonly diagnosed for those between ages 20-40. For people with this issue, if we ever need blood, we have to have washed blood only. Full blood or blood that is rich in IgA can cause an anaphylaxis effect (strong allergic reaction).
Signs and side effects of IgA D:
Increased infections in mucosal tissues (sinuses, ears, mouth, throat, stomach, intestines, colon, vaginal or anal cavities.)
An enlarged Spleen
Delay of puberty (very late bloomers)
Unexplained fetal loss (miscarriage)
Bowel issues (diarrhea, constipation ECT.)
Nasal allergies or congestion
Increased cancer risk
An inability to keep many fat soluble vitamins such as Vitamin A.
Lack of Calcium, Vitamin D, B 12, Folic Acid, Zinc ECT.
The only way to get a clear diagnosis of this issue is to have a serum blood test done for a quantity of IgA, you should also check IgG, and IgM levels if at all possible. If you receive a number that is less than 81 then you have some form of deficiency. Also you have some form of Celiac. If you are already on gluten free diet that is fine. You do not need to go back on gluten to find if you have an IgA issue. IgA issues come from genetics passed on from first or second degree relatives (parents, grandparents). If you have this issue then someone close to you does as well.
IgA replacement, this is done through an IV or subcutaneous (under the skin) injections. Currently this is the only real treatments I could find.
Life changes needed:
You need dead inoculations yearly such as Flu and Pneumonia, yes I said yearly! Many doctors will fight on giving the pneumonia shots more than twice in your life time.
Medical ID bracelet that said you need washed blood for transfusions. (I still need one of these, I also need mine to read that I am allergic to succinylcholine (a general anesthesia) both of these issue can kill me so I really should get that bracelet.)
If you have a respiratory issue you need it treated early. Don't wait because it can turn on you very quickly.
You will need a yearly thyroid function test to see how you are doing. Also since Thyroid cancer can be an issue with IgA D.
One of the annoying things that come with IgA D is that you are tired and sick all the time. Going to the ER for me is a real pain because I will come home with some form of illness. Since IgA is found in your first lines of defense you are more likely to get whatever is going around. I tend to steer as clear of sick people as I can. I really don't like getting every cold that the world has to offer.
Surprisingly IgA D is not uncommon. It occurs in around 10% of those with northern European ancestry. The real issue is that while doctors know about it many do not understand all that can come with this issue. You may have to explain to more than one doctor what it is and why you need to get treated for something early.