If the immune system causes various kinds of unwanted reactions or hypersensitivity, you must be vigilant because it can damage the body and even be fatal. Especially if not treated or experienced repeatedly.
In fact, the function of the immune system is to protect the body from diseases and elements that are potentially harmful to the body. But there are also conditions where the immune system is mistaken or overreacting, causing unwanted effects. This condition is called hypersensitivity. This unwanted reaction can damage the body, make you uncomfortable, and even fatal. Hypersensitivity includes mild allergies, anaphylaxis, to autoimmune diseases.
When hypersensitivity occurs, the body will first be exposed to the elements causing the reaction, or what is known as an antigen. After contact between the body and the antigen, the immune system then reacts to the antigen, but in excess.
Types of hypersensitivity reactions
In general, hypersensitivity is divided into four types, namely:
Type 1 hypersensitivity reactions
- Urticaria or biduran, which is itchy rash on the skin
- Rhinitis or allergic reactions in the respiratory tract that cause sneezing, nasal congestion or runny nose, and itching.
- Asthma, where airway constriction occurs, mucus production, and inflammation of the respiratory tract, resulting in shortness of breath.
- Anaphylaxis is an allergic reaction that affects the entire body and can cause death. Anaphylactic reactions can include difficulty breathing, blood pressure drops dramatically (shock), and throat and face swell so that it can be fatal. If it happens, the patient needs to get immediate medical help.
Type 2 hypersensitivity reactions
Type 3 hypersensitivity reactions
Type 4 hypersensitivity reactions
This type is the same as allergy and is usually called a fast type hypersensitivity reaction. Type 1 hypersensitivity reactions involve a type of antibody called immunoglobulin E (IgE). IgE compounds will release histamine which can then trigger mild to severe allergic reactions, such as anaphylaxis. This is called a ‘fast’ hypersensitivity reaction because the response that occurs from type 1 hypersensitivity occurs in less than an hour after antigen exposure.
Some reactions that arise will depend on which organ system is affected. Some disorders that include this type of hypersensitivity are:
The second type of hypersensitivity reaction is commonly called a cytotoxic hypersensitivity reaction, in which normal body cells are mistakenly destroyed by the body’s own immune system. This reaction involves immunoglobulin G (IgG) or immunoglobulin M (IgM) antibodies.
Examples of this type of hypersensitivity reaction are autoimmune hemolytic anemia, rejection of organ transplants, and Hashimoto’s disease.
This type of hypersensitivity reaction is also called an immune complex disease. That is when antibodies and antigens, or elements that cause antibody production, will combine to become a component and circulate in the blood or body tissue. This combination of antibodies and antigens is called an immune complex.
The immune complex then triggers the body’s inflammatory response and can be deposited in blood vessels in various organs. If implanted in the kidney, it can cause glomerulonephritis or kidney inflammation. Type 3 hypersensitivity reactions generally appear 4-10 days after the body has been exposed to antigens.
Examples of diseases that occur due to type 3 hypersensitivity reactions include lupus and rheumatoid arthritis.
Type 4 hypersensitivity reactions are called slow type hypersensitivity reactions, because the reaction is relatively longer than other types of hypersensitivity reactions. In contrast to other types of hypersensitivity where antibodies play a major role, in this type, a type of white blood cell called T cells plays a role in causing allergic reactions and symptoms.
Examples of type 4 hypersensitivity are contact dermatitis and various forms of hypersensitivity reactions due to drugs.
Seeing the number of hypersensitivity reactions that can occur, the treatment needed also depends on the type of reaction suffered. Treatment of asthma is certainly different from treatment for hives, or in other types of hypersensitivity reactions. For this reason, consult your doctor so you can get proper treatment and treatment. If needed, your doctor may do an allergy test to identify the triggering factor for your hypersensitivity reaction, so that it can be avoided.