The first step in diagnosing an immune deficiency is a good evaluation. An immune system specialist (immunologist) can help with diagnosis and treatment. Evaluation of the immune system may include:
- Detailed medical history
- Physical exam
- Blood tests
- Vaccines to test the immune response
At the time of the evaluation, your doctor will ask questions about your health. Frequent or unusual infections, prolonged diarrhea and poor childhood growth are some symptoms of a possible immune deficiency.
Because some immune deficiencies run in families, you will be asked questions about your family’s health. You will also have a complete check-up.
If an immune deficiency is suspected, a series of blood tests and vaccines may be done. Blood tests will show if any part of the immune system is missing or not working properly. Vaccines may be given to test the immune system’s response. In the normal immune system, antibodies against the organism in the vaccine are formed in the blood. If antibodies to the vaccine are not found a few weeks after the vaccine is given, an immune deficiency may exist.