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At TDC Allergy, Asthma and Immunology, in Silverdale, WA, we believe in empowering people with the knowledge and tools they need to live a healthy and active life.
Allergic diseases as a group develop when part of the immune system reacts excessively and produces an immunoglobulin called IgE antibody. This IgE antibody system is supposed to fight parasitic infections; however, it reacts to the normal environmental antigens (dust mite, animal dander, pollen, mold spores, insect venom, and food). These diseases include asthma, allergic rhinitis, conjunctivitis, eczema, insect sting allergy, and some forms of hives.
If the immune system reacts to self antigens, people develop a group of diseases called auto-immune diseases. For the immune cells to react, they have to recognize which is self and non-self. In most of us, immune cells can perform this function very effectively; however, in some patients who have a genetic tendency, they recognize the self antigens as foreign and react to them. There is a constant reaction that goes on between the self antigens and antibodies which creates inflammation. Some examples of these diseases are lupus, rheumatoid arthritis, polymyositis, etc.
Immune cells also do surveillance in the body and if they recognize any foreign cell or a tumor cell they will kill these cells. People who do not have enough of these cells are more prone for malignant diseases or cancers. As you can see, the immune system is the key to keeping us healthy. Most of these diseases do have a genetic tendency; however, environmental factors are the culprit in most of the diseases. A combination of genetic tendency and environmental factors leads to the diseases. Most people who have asthma have a genetic tendency; however, they must be exposed to an allergen or a virus to develop an asthma attack.
Even though as allergists and immunologists we do not deal with all these diseases, we have a clear knowledge of how the immune system works and how to diagnose these diseases.