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Immunology

Immunology

Immunology deals with all aspects of our body’s immune system. One of the immune system’s jobs is to protect us against disease-causing agents. This is a genetically based ability, one that is born with us. The other important job is to rid our system of materials that have become dangerous to us due to destruction of some of our own cells.

How the immune system works

In order for the immune system to work properly, it is important that it identify and differentiate the alien (i.e., bacteria) from the body’s own tissues.
The immune system cells develop in the central immune system to later be transferred to all areas of our body through the circulatory system to meet up with disease causing agents (i.e., skin, mucous membranes, and the intestinal mucosa of hollow organs). The cells develop a complex division of labor wherein some cells incorporate the microbes that entered the system, others produce antibodies and still others choose materials necessary for inter-cellar communication which is the way, among others, how fever develops.

Some lymphocytes generate the immune memory, the so-called secondary immunity enabling the body to remember the agents causing earlier immune reactions and, when meeting with these again, to develop antibodies with great speed.

The immune cells also clear away the detritus of the dead cells. The balance is extremely delicate since our immune system, at times, identifies our own system structures as alien engaging in a fierce battle against them. This is the so-called autoimmune disease.

When should we think of immune disease?

  • When serious infections follow one after another during infancy, genetic immune deficiency must be considered.
  • Under drawn-out stressful conditions, under nourishment (crazy diet), depression and chronic illness (i.e., diabetes, kidney failure) that curtail the immune system’s performance.
  • When there is a spasmodic dry cough, difficult breathing that might be a possible indication of asthma.
  • In the event of excema and atopic dermatitis (inflammation of the skin) caused by increased immune system activity.
  • In the event of recurring, not justifiable feverish condition, chronic muscle pain, migrating joint and skin inflammation and thyroid functional disorders autoimmune disorders must be considered. The central nervous system might also be involved (i.e., multiple sclerosis). There are those that consider juvenile diabetes an autoimmune disorder.

Treatment of Immune System Diseases

  • Genetic immune deficiency is treated with immunoglobulin supplements.
  • Allergic symptoms may be reduced with antihistamines and calcium. The symptoms of asthma with bronchodilators, possibly in conjunction with steroids.
  • Inflammation of joints may be reduced with non-steroid anti-inflammatories, in severe cases, with steroids.
  • The autoimmune disease treatments include steroid or cytostatic medication and geared to the individual. Stem-cell therapy may also be considered.
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