Immune suppression describes a loss of immune function. It can occur for many reasons, including disease, medication, surgery, age or genetics.
What is immune suppression?
Immune suppression, also known as immunosuppression or immunocompromise, means your immune system isn't working properly. So what is your immune system? It is a combination of defences our bodies have to fight off infections. Various parts of our body systems work as soldiers in this fight, particularly the white cells in our bloodstream, along with our spleen and lymph nodes.
When this system is suppressed, ie not working as it should, we are more vulnerable to infection.
What does it mean for me?
If your immune system is suppressed, you may be more vulnerable to infection. You are more likely to need to see a doctor, more likely to need antibiotics and more likely to land up in hospital for treatment if you develop an infection, than someone who is not immunosuppressed. You can't have live vaccines if you are immunosuppressed, and you may need to take special precautions when you travel.
You are also more vulnerable to certain skin cancers if you are immunosuppressed.
Do I need regular tests?
If you are on certain immunosuppressing medicines then you will have regular blood tests to check they aren't causing more harm than good. With others, tests will only be done if you develop a problem. Learn about monitoring of immunosuppressing treatments.
Further reading and references
Immunisation against infectious disease - the Green Book (latest edition); Public Health England
Immunosuppression; Travel Health Pro Fact Sheet
Splenectomy; Public Health England, January 2015
Wilsdon TD, Hill CL; Managing the drug treatment of rheumatoid arthritis. Aust Prescr. 2017 Apr40(2):51-58. doi: 10.18773/austprescr.2017.012. Epub 2017 Apr 3.
Yu SH, Bordeaux JS, Baron ED; The immune system and skin cancer. Adv Exp Med Biol. 2014810:182-91.
Skin cancer in transplant recipients; DermNet NZ
Renal transplantation - immunosuppressive regimens for children and adolescents; NICE Technology Appraisal Guidance (2006)
Moini M, Schilsky ML, Tichy EM; Review on immunosuppression in liver transplantation. World J Hepatol. 2015 Jun 87(10):1355-68. doi: 10.4254/wjh.v7.i10.1355.
Has anybody else got this condition that is willing to discuss their treatment and how they are coping with this disease?I have been living with AIH for 14 years, first diagnosed when i was 14 years...cathy67411
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