Immune System Disorders Specialist

Allergy Asthma & Immunology on Madison

Evelyn Tolston, MD

Allergy, Asthma, & Immune System Specialist located in Midtown East, New York, NY

Since your immune system is your body’s defense against bacteria, viruses, and other harmful invaders, any condition that affects its ability to function puts your health in danger. As an expert in immune system disorders, Dr. Evelyn Tolston at Allergy Asthma and Immunology on Madison can get to the root of your symptoms and provide exceptional treatment that supports your immune system, relieves your symptoms, and prevents ongoing infections. To schedule an appointment, call the office in Midtown East, New York City or use the online booking feature.

Immune System Disorders Q & A

What are immune system disorders?

Immune system disorders cover a wide range of health conditions, but they generally fall into four categories:

  • Primary immune deficiency: when you’re born with a weak immune system
  • Acquired immune deficiency: when you get a disease that weakens your immune system
  • Allergies: when your immune system overreacts to various substances
  • Autoimmune disease: when your immune systems turns against your own body

There are over 200 primary immune deficiency disorders, most of which are rare inherited conditions. Acquired immune deficiencies can occur from numerous diseases. Common infections like influenza temporarily suppress your immune system, while other conditions such as AIDS, cancer, and malnutrition have a more severe impact.

What autoimmune diseases are common?

When you have an autoimmune disease, the immune system mistakenly tags normal, healthy cells in your body as harmful and attacks those tissues.

More than 100 autoimmune diseases have been identified. They affect women more often than men, with 75% of all patients being women.

Many of the most common autoimmune diseases are well-known health problems such as:

  • Rheumatoid arthritis
  • Type 1 diabetes
  • Inflammatory bowel disease
  • Systemic lupus erythematosus
  • Grave’s disease (hyperthyroidism)
  • Hashimoto’s thyroiditis (causes hypothyroidism)

Autoimmune diseases run in families, yet a specific disease isn’t inherited; rather, different family members develop various autoimmune diseases.

What symptoms might I develop if I have an immune system disorder?

Immune system disorders cause two primary symptoms: frequent infections and inflammation. When your immune system doesn’t work properly, you’re vulnerable to infections, which cause inflammation. And if your immune system attacks your own body, you develop an inflammatory response.

Other symptoms that occur depend on the organ or body system affected by the disease. Some immune diseases affect multiple systems throughout your body, while others are limited to one area.

These are a few examples of potential symptoms:

  • Abdominal discomfort
  • Bloating
  • Chills
  • Diarrhea
  • Hives
  • Wheezing
  • Coughing
  • Fatigue
  • Headaches
  • Sinus infections

Skin rashes, aching joints, hair loss, and tingling in your hands or feet are a few additional examples of symptoms.

What should I know about allergies?

Allergies are the most common type of immune system disorder. They develop when your immune system identifies a harmless substance, like pollen, grass, pet dander, or food as something that’s dangerous to your body.

After the substance is labeled as an allergen, your immune system releases chemicals every time you encounter the allergen. The chemicals cause all the different allergy symptoms, such as a runny nose, stuffy nose, itchy eyes, skin rashes, eczema, and hives.

When should I see a doctor?

Frequent or long-lasting infections are one of the key signs that you should get a thorough examination. When you have an immune system disorder you need an immunology expert like Dr. Tolston to diagnose the underlying problem and provide treatment that prevents complications, reduces the number of infections, and improves your immune system.

If you have any questions about your symptoms or infections, or to schedule an appointment, call Allergy Asthma and Immunology on Madison.