Immunology examines the system that protects the body. The immunologist deals with problems related to the functioning of the immune system, examines its malfunction and disorders (autoimmune diseases).
The immune system is nothing but the body’s defence mechanism. A group of cells, tissues, and organs that protect against infection by a particular antigen. An antigen is a substance in the body that triggers the production of antibodies, i.e. immune responses. The word immune means protection, exemption.
What are the autoimmune diseases?
In case of autoimmune diseases, the immune system does not recognize its own cells in the body. As a result, it activates its defence system in an unnatural way and attacks its healthy cells (produces antigens).
- Multiple sclerosis
- Type 1 diabetes
- Rheumatoid arthritis
- Hashimoto’s thyroiditis, or autoimmune thyroiditis
- Sjögren’s syndrome
- Basedow-Graves disease
- Systemic Lupus Erythematosus (SLE)
When to see an immunologist?
It is recommended to consult an immunologist in the following cases:
- Persistent joint pain
- Prolonged fatigue, depression
- Prolonged fever
- More often than usual occurring catarrhal disease
- Lymph node enlargement
- Decreased tear or saliva production
- Persistent skin rashes, certain types of blistering skin diseases
- Hair falling in spots
- Muscle aches
- Small and large joint complaints
- Complaints are not clarified even in the case of a complex search
What happens during an immunological examination?
During the immunological consultation, after detailed examination of the patient and knowledge of their medical history (existing complaints, findings), the immunologist determines the tests to be performed. If the patient has already had a test to help diagnose complaints, only a laboratory test is recommended to help give a more complete picture of the inflammatory processes in the body based on the symptoms.
If necessary, a physical examination, chest X-ray, or abdominal ultrasound may be required after the consultation. A chest X-ray is needed for suspected pneumonia, while an abdominal ultrasound may be needed to assess the condition of the abdominal organs.