World PI Week is coming up later this month, from April 22-29. So what better way to celebrate than to learn what exactly PI is! Not to be confused with Pi or Pie or Prescribing Information, PI stands for Primary Immunodeficiency Disease—it also goes by PID or PIDD.
PI is not so much an “is” as it is an “are.” There’s a whole basket of diseases—more than 200 at last count—that can be classified as PID. The one common characteristic they all share is that some vital part of the body’s immune system is missing or malfunctioning.
When you think of all the functions the immune system performs to protect the body, you start to understand why diagnosing, differentiating, and treating PID can be such a challenge. If you, your child, or someone you love has been suffering ongoing or recurrent infections or bouts of pneumonia, it could be a warning sign.
Other visible signs can include:
- swollen lymph nodes
- weight loss
- growth problems
- recurrent skin abscesses.
Of course, there are also invisible symptoms like organ abscesses, an enlarged spleen, and autoimmune diseases.
As with any disease, the first step in fighting PID is to learn as much as you can about it.
The American Academy of Allergy Asthma & Immunology has a resource page that’s a good starting point. From there, you can learn more about some of the most common PIDDs, including Chronic Granulomatous Disease (CGD), Common Variable Immunodeficiency (CVID), and Severe Combined Immunodeficiency (SCID). Also be sure to check out the NIH’s page on PIDDs, as well as the World PI Week site to see how people around the world are spending the week.
The PIDD community may be small, but when they raise their voices together, they’re hard to ignore!