Immune system is one of the most complicated and poorly studied among other system of the human body. Nonetheless, German doctors learned how to detect and treat many diseases of immune system. Immune status can be checked with the laboratory methods.
What is immune status?
Immune status of a person represents functional and quantitative indicators of immune system. They can be checked with the help of diagnostic tests. Violation of immune status leads to different diseases, including autoimmune processes, allergic pathologies and immunodeficiency disorders.
Immune status check is aimed at:
- Detection of the broken link in the immune system
- Detection of the cause and determination of the prognosis
- Choosing medications for immune correction
- Evaluation of the therapy effectiveness
There are diagnostic tests of Level 1 and Level 2. Level 1 tests are indicative. They are less informative, but more accessible, and conducted in many medical institutions. Level 2 tests give more information. Together with that, they are more expensive, more complex, and are run at specialized laboratories only.
Functional tests of the Level 1
Level 1 tests include:
- Determination of leukocytes number which are inflammatory cells
- Calculation of the leukocyte formula - the ratio in the blood of different leukocytes types is determined
- Evaluation of the number and ratio of B-lymphocytes and T-lymphocytes
- Detection of NK-cells using monoclonal antibodies
- Determination of the number of T-helpers and T-killers (a variety of lymphocytes), as well as the determination of their ratio
- Determination in the blood of immunoglobulins of classes M, G, A, E
- Evaluation of phagocytic activity of leukocytes (ability to absorb and "digest" bacterial cells)
- Activity of complement and cytokines
A high number of white blood cells usually indicates an inflammatory process in the body. You can find out about its origin by studying the leukocyte formula. Most often these are autoimmune diseases, bacterial and protozoal infections, lymphoproliferative diseases (pathologies of the hematopoietic system). A decrease in the level of leukocytes suggests immunodeficiency status. They can be caused by various factors, including HIV, drug abuse, radiation or chemotherapy, long-term use of antibiotics.
An important value in diagnosis is the determination of the ratio of T-helpers and T-killers. Interpretation of results is as follows:
- Reduced number of T-helpers can tell about HIV infection. By their number, one can judge the stage of the acquired immunodeficiency syndrome
- An increase in T-helpers is an evidence of an autoimmune reaction
- An increase in T-killers indicate an infectious or tumor process, as well as a rejection reaction of a transplant or a recent vaccination
- A decrease in the relative number of T-killers often indicates an autoimmune or allergic disease
It is important to determine specific immunoglobulins in the serum. A brief assessment of the change in their level:
- IgG – a decrease indicates congenital immunodeficiency status,while an increase is indicative of autoimmune pathologies or long-lasting bacterial inflammation
- IgМ – a decrease refers to acquired immunodeficiency, while an increase indicates acute infection
- IgА – a decrease speaks about congenital immunodeficiency, while an increase indicates damage of mucous membranes by bacteria
- IgЕ – an increase indicates an allergic reaction or parasitic infestation
Functional tests of the Level 2
Level 2 functional tests are not available in every clinic. They are done at the laboratories with special equipment. Large German hospitals are well enough equipped to provide the most informative tests to find out the reason of violated immune system function.
Immunologic tests of the Llevel 2 presuppose the definition of:
- The number of different T-lymphocytes subpopulations
- Phenotypic characteristics (evaluation of appearance) of the immune system cells
- Study the expression of activation markers that are located on the surface of immune cells
- Evaluation of the ability of T-lymphocytes and B-lymphocytes to provide an adequate response to the penetration of certain antigens into the body
- Self-destruction rates of lymphocytes (help in diagnosing of HIV or sepsis)
- Evaluation of the concentration of interleukins 2, 4, 5 types, and tumor necrosis factor
- Activity of T-killers and NK-cells, their ability to produce perforin and granzymes
- Determination of immunoglobulins subclasses (IgG 1, 2, 3, 4 subclasses, IgA 1 and 2 subclasses, etc.)
- Determination of the concentration of different cytokines in biological fluids
- Evaluation of receptor apparatus of phagocytes
They use a variety of other tests as well. Viability of those is dictated by the certain clinical case.
Protection and restoration of the immune system
A person far cry from medicine imagines immune system as some homogenous system which can work normally, poorly or above the norm.
Most people think that:
- Normally, the immunity works well as it efficiently counteracts infections and tumor processes.
- Certain people have too “weak” immune system. That’s why they get sick often.
- Some people have super strong immune system; therefore they suffer from autoimmune pathologies and allergic reactions.
Such a simple structure of immunity makes treatment of diseases caused by malfunctions in its work even simpler than ever. Does immune system work normally? Do not touch! Weak immunity? It has to be strengthened right away! Strong immunity - weaken! That's all medicine for now.
In fact, immunity is a very complex system. There are many links in it. On either of them, a disorder can occur that makes certain responses of the immune system inadequate, redundant or distorted. The damaged link is revealed during functional tests. Only then can targeted treatment be used to restore or compensate for the function of the immune system.
The main methods of treatment of immunological diseases are:
- Use of medications that effect certain parts of the immune response
- Use of drugs that suppress the immune response
- Use of drugs that stimulate the immune response to certain antigens
- Extracorporeal methods of blood purification - to remove the "surplus" of immunoglobulins circulating in the blood
- Introduction of antigens into the body in minimum doses to stimulate immunity, or vice versa, to suppress immune reactions.
Treatment of immune system diseases in Germany
German healthcare system, immunology in particular, is better developed than in the majority of the world countries. That’s why, patients from all over the world are eager to come here to receive thorough medical help.
Benefits of immune system diseases treatment in Germany are:
- Accurate diagnostic tests. They will be able to identify the cause of the pathology and establish the link where the immune response has occurred.
- The latest methods of treatment give an opportunity to restore normal functioning of the immune system, or to compensate for the pathological process through the constant intake of drugs.
- Comfortable conditions in the clinic. During the entire period of treatment the patient is in a comfortable room, where he is provided with everything necessary.
Here are the hospitals where you can undergo diagnostics and treatment of the immunological pathologies:
- Marburg University Hospital has at its disposal a department of hematology, oncology and immunology. Here, in addition to the treatment of autoimmune pathologies, immunotherapy of oncological diseases is carried out as well as diseases of the hematopoiesis system are diagnosed and treated. Specialists of the department also deal with the treatment of congenital and acquired immunodeficiency conditions.
- Erlagen University Hospital. In the department of rheumatology and immunology, doctors are engaged in the diagnosis and treatment of autoimmune pathologies. It is recognized as the center of excellence. Doctors of the department are also specialized in the treatment of allergic diseases.
- Dusseldorf University Hospital. Here, there is a department of children's oncology, hematology and immunology. Doctors of the department have succeeded in treating congenital immunodeficiency conditions and children's allergic diseases. High-tech and experimental methods of therapy are used.
Arrangement of treatment in Germany
Today everyone can go to Germany for treatment, to undergo diagnostics, to evaluate the immune status and get advice from the best doctors in the world.
Booking Health Company organizes medical tourist trips.
Your cooperation with us will allow you not to worry about anything and concentrate fully on treatment, because we:
- Help you choose the best hospital for the treatment of immunological diseases
- Book flights and hotel, help with paperwork, meet at the airport in Germany, and provide an interpreter for oral communication with the clinic's employees
- Help you to save up to 70% of the medical and organizational services costs
- Insure you against unforeseen medical expenses, therefore the originally stipulated cost of the medical-diagnostic program is guaranteed not to increase
- Organize an urgent appointment with a doctor, we will agree on providing a room of increased comfort, for the accommodation of an accompanying person, we will solve any other issues
After the treatment, you will be able to receive consultations of the attending physician within 3 months after the completion of the therapeutic program.
Choose treatment abroad and you will for sure get the best results!
Author: Dr. Nadezhda Ivanisova