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Idiopathic CD4 Lymphocytopenia (ICL)

Idiopathic CD4 lymphocytopenia is a rare disorder of the immune system. The cause of this disorder is unknown (idiopathic). In this condition, the body has less number of fighter cells called CD4. The CD4 cells are glycoproteins found on the surface of immune cells called lymphocytes. A lymphocyte is a type of a white blood cell that is responsible to attack bacteria and viruses during the course of any infection in the body.

There is another serious disease, the HIV infection, in which one finds lowering of the CD4 count. However, in the case of ICL, the HIV infection is absent. People with this disorder have a weak immune system and they are prone to catch infections readily.

Cause- The cause of ICL unlike other idiopathic conditions is unknown. Some of the patients of ICL have a certain problem related to certain genes. 

Symptoms

Some of the patients of ICL may have no symptoms, others may have conditions that suggest a low immune system such as hemolytic anemia, other infections like chickenpox and herpes zoster.

At Life Force, we recently had a patient (Patient identification number: 34386) who had visited to get treated for this disorder. There was a gradual reduction in his absolute CD4 count and CD4 percentage. He was on immunosuppressive (steroid) medication.

ICL patient’s story

Patient’s report dated 21.9.2017 suggested the following;

- Absolute CD4 lymphocyte: 149 (Low)

- CD3:CD4: 16 (Low)

The genetic testing was normal and HIV was negative. He complained of recurrent dry cough, generalized weakness, body pain with a rapid weight loss of 5-6 kgs in five months. The most important history which determined the diagnosis was recurrent tuberculosis.

The patient narrated of being affected by tuberculosis at an interval of every two years where the lymph nodes, lungs, abdomen, liver, spleen, and spine were affected. There was also a strong history of tuberculosis in his paternal family.

The conventional treatment does not have any strong evidence about the genetic link of tuberculosis or it resulting in an autoimmune disease later in the family. However, the homeopathic philosophy and the thought process support the hypothesis that there are some inherited tendencies that are passed on from one generation to another. A strong family history of tuberculosis makes one prone to inherit tubercular tendencies (tubercular miasm) and may give rise to similar conditions unlike tuberculosis (lupus, some type of cancers, aplastic anemia are some of them) in future. This trait was also found in this patient who was prescribed homeopathic medicines which have the power to produce tubercular tendencies when given to healthy human beings.  

Diagnosis

 The diagnosis is based on the following criteria

  1. A low number of CD4+ cells on two or more measurements within six weeks
  2. CD4 cell count less than 300 cells
  3. Lack of laboratory evidence of HIV infection

A low CD4 count can be accidentally diagnosed during testing for repetitive infections. A low CD4 count is also found in leukemia, chemotherapy or in people who are on some immunosuppressive medicines.

Scope of homeopathy

We do not have specific experience, but we do have experience with a range of other immunologically mediated diseases. Homeopathy is recommended for the treatment of idiopathic CD4 lymphocytopenia. Unlike the treatment of other autoimmune diseases, homeopathy aims to boost the patients’ weak immune system and thereby improve the CD4 count. It also helps in controlling the deterioration in the CD4 count and improves the general health of the patient in order to help individuals fight opportunistic infections. Homeopathy plays a supportive role in treating this disorder. It can be amalgamated with other indicated conventional modes of treatment. At Life Force, we would like to undertake more cases of ICL and evaluate the role of homeopathy.

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