Agammaglobulinemia, aka hypogammaglobulinemia, is an immunodeficiency health condition marked by very low levels of immunoglobulins. Immunoglobulins play an essential role in your immune system because they function like antibodies and protect you against invading substances, notably bacteria. Therefore, any shortage is a cause for frequent infections.
Most often, agammaglobulinemia is the result of a rare congenital disorder that mainly affects males. The basis of the disorder is a defective or missing enzyme used to produce B cells, which are the sole creators of immunoglobulins. And because the gene for the missing enzyme are on the X chromosome, for which males only have one, it is a gender specific health condition.
With agammaglobulinemia, other aspects of your immune system are functioning, so fungal and most viral infections are not typically a health concern. Your repeated infection issue is particularly caused by H. influenza, strep and staph. Common sites for these frequent infections are:
- gastrointestinal tract
- upper respiratory tract
Your symptoms for hypogammaglobulinemia will likely be frequent episodes of:
- ear infections
- skin infections
- chronic diarrhea
- respiratory infections
These frequent infections will start showing up within the first couple years of your life. And some of your potential complications of agammaglobulinemia might involve:
Treatment for hypogammaglobulinemia consists of boosting your compromised immune system as well as reducing the frequency and severity of infections. As such, you’ll receive regular intravenous infusions of immunoglobulins. And treatment for your frequently active infections will probably require an antibiotic.
With treatment you can expect to live a long, healthy life. Without treatment, some bacterial infections that might not otherwise be fatal, may be for you.