Immunoglobulin A (IgA) is an antibody blood protein that’s part of your immune system.
Your body makes IgA and other type of antibodies to help fight off sickness. Having an
IgA deficiency means that you have low levels of or no IgA in your blood.
is found in mucous membranes, mainly in the respiratory and digestive tracts. It is also
found saliva, tears, and breastmilk. A deficiency seems to play a part in asthma and
allergies. Researchers have also linked IgA deficiency to autoimmune health problems.
These are health problems that cause your body’s immune system to attack your body by
deficiency is a health problem that is passed down through families in about 1 in 5
cases. This means it is genetic. In rare cases, it can be caused by medicines you are
people with an IgA deficiency don’t have any symptoms of the health problem. It’s
usually found on a blood test, if it’s found at all. About 1 in 4 to 1 in 2people with
selective IgA deficiency will be affected. Some people with an IgA deficiency are more
likely to get frequent infections. These can include sinus, lung, and digestive
infections. Some people with IgA deficiency also are more likely to have allergies, and
digestive and autoimmune problems such as celiac disease or lupus.
IgA deficiency runs in your family or you have some of the above symptoms, you might be
at risk. Blood tests can be used to see if IgA is missing in your blood.
There is no cure for IgA deficiency. Immunotherapy does not work to treat it. But you
can take steps to lower your risk for illness or infection. These include taking
antibiotics when you get sick. If infections are ongoing (chronic), you may need to take
antibiotics every day.
Potential complications can include:
deficiency is a problem that may be passed down through your family, so you can’t do
anything to prevent it. But you can limit the spread of germs and sickness by washing
your hands often and staying away from large crowds. This is especially true during cold
and flu season. Also talk with your healthcare provider about vaccines that may help
prevent illness and when you should get them.
you have IgA deficiency and are worried about the risks of passing it on to your
children, talk with a genetic counselor.
to help you get the most from a visit to your healthcare provider:
Know the reason for your visit and what you want to happen.
Before your visit, write down questions you want answered.
Bring someone with you to help you ask questions and remember what your
provider tells you.
At the visit, write down the name of a new diagnosis, and any new medicines,
treatments, or tests. Also write down any new instructions your provider gives
Know why a new medicine or treatment is prescribed, and how it will help you.
Also know what the side effects are.
Ask if your condition can be treated in other ways.
Know why a test or procedure is recommended and what the results could
Know what to expect if you do not take the medicine or have the test or
If you have a follow-up appointment, write down the date, time, and purpose for
Know how you can contact your provider if you have questions.
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