Plasma therapies help treat a plethora of rare diseases, but Primary Immunodeficiency Diseases (PID) almost always make the top of the list.
What are they? Let’s take a look.
What is PID?
Immune diseases are diseases caused by an immune system that is ill-functioning or missing a few crucial parts. When these changes are caused by a genetic mutation or inherited by a parent (hereditary), the diseases are referred to as Primary Immunodeficiency Diseases (PID).
PID is rare. In the US, the condition affects 1 in 2,00,000 to 1 in 2,50,000 people. It is not contagious and, as explained, its causes are genetic or hereditary.
Signs of PID
Since PIDs are caused by a compromised immune system, they cause their patients to suffer from severe and recurrent bouts of different infections.
The most common symptoms of PIDs are:
Lung infections, such as pneumonia
Now and then, some of these infections might affect us as well. However, in a patient of PID, the infections are severe, persistent, and recurrent.
In fact, the infections can be so severe that they often affect the heart and the nervous system as well. In many, it also increases the risk of certain cancers.
Causes of PID
Our immune system is a highly complex network of myriad cells and proteins. The job of our immune system is to fight infections, and this is carried out by a highly complex interplay of these cells and proteins.
For the sake of simplicity, we can say that the proteins — or what are called immunoglobulins — help identify the disease-causing foreign microbe that has entered our body by 'marking' it, and the cells — T Cells — are then deployed by the immune system to detect and destroy it.
However, patients of PID lack one or several kinds of these cells and proteins. As a consequence, their immune system is incapable of getting rid of disease-causing bacteria or viruses.
And being a highly complex network, the absence of one or a few of its parts, in different orders, results in different conditions. In fact, PIDs are a cluster of more than 350 rare diseases! More and more are being discovered even today.
How Can You Help
Since immunoglobulins are found in your plasma, donating it means donating them as well.
Indeed, plasma therapies are nothing but separated and concentrated forms of these proteins.
The therapies provide the patients with an external supply of those proteins their immune system lacks, thereby enabling them to live a much healthier and happier life.
Donating plasma then is to make a real difference in the world.
Want to donate plasma? Find more information here.