An immunologist is a specialist in the diagnosis and treatment of disorders of the immune system. There are a few immunologists in Washington DC, offering their services for its residents and visitors. Black & Kletz Allergy has two board-certified immunologists in Washington DC. The practice also employs trained staff assisting in treatments for immune system disorders. Black & Kletz Allergy has a convenient location on K St., N.W. in Washington DC with easy access to many public transportation access points. In addition, we have office locations in McLean VA (Tysons Corner VA) and Manassas VA.
The major function of the immune system is to protect us from infections, tumors, etc. It is part of our body’s natural defense mechanism. The cells which are part of our immune system are produced in our bone marrow and some are modified in a gland called the thymus. These cells are called lymphocytes and circulate in our blood stream. These cells manufacture proteins called immunoglobulins (i.e., antibodies) which mediate immune function. Without their constant surveillance, we would be susceptible to infections and cancers. Black & Kletz Allergy’s immunologist Washington DC trusts can assess the function of immune system by taking a comprehensive history, performing a thorough physical examination, and ordering necessary laboratory studies. The levels of various antibodies in the blood can be measured and compared with normal values expected in a healthy individual. The numbers of the different types of lymphocytes can also be computed. Sometimes it is necessary to administer vaccines such as the pneumococcal (i.e., pneumonia) vaccine to stimulate the immune system to produce specific antibodies to assess its competency. Deficiencies in immune function can be primary (i.e., usually present from birth but manifesting in childhood) or secondary (i.e., developing later in life). Medications that suppress immune function as well as certain viral infections (e.g., HIV) are some causes of a secondary immune deficiency. Black & Kletz Allergy’s immunologist Washington DC has trusted for years is trained in the systematic evaluation and identification of the causes of immune defects. The treatments for primary immunodeficiencies on the other hand may involve frequent antibiotic use to control infections or long term prophylactic use in order to prevent infections. Some immune disorders such “common variable immune deficiency” can be treated by infusions (i.e., either into a vein or injected under the skin) of antibodies on a regular basis. The Black & Kletz immunologists in Washington DC are experienced in these types of immunoglobulin treatments often referred to as either intravenous immunoglobulin therapy (i.e., IVIG) and subcutaneous immunoglobulin therapy (i.e., SQIG) respectively.
Another way the immune system can malfunction is when it attacks our own organs. The resultant conditions are called “autoimmune” disorders. These diseases are the reason that many individuals consult immunologist in Washington DC. Systemic lupus erythematosus is an example of an autoimmune disease, in which many organs can be affected. Hashimoto’s thyroiditis is another example where the immune system affects the thyroid gland, resulting in less hormones to be secreted than needed. In the evaluation and management of autoimmune conditions in Washington DC, immunologists are usually a part of the multidisciplinary team of specialists including rheumatologists, endocrinologist, gastroenterologist etc.
Allergies are also a result of dysfunction of the immune system. Allergic disorders are caused when the immune system mistakes usually harmless substances such as dust mites, pollens, molds, and pets as potentially dangerous and then subsequently mounts an attack on them. Thus, most board-certified allergists are also clinical immunologists in Washington DC as the knowledge of immunology is important in the treatment of allergies.