Aspergillosis - Symptoms & Treatment
Aspergillosis is an infection, growth, or allergic response caused by the Aspergillus fungus. The most common forms are allergic bronchopulmonary aspergillosis , pulmonary aspergilloma and invasive aspergillosis. Aspergillus is very common and is frequently found in compost heaps, air vents, and airborne dust. When Aspergillus does cause disease, however, it usually occurs in those individuals with weakened immune systems (immunocompromised) or who have a history of respiratory ailments. Aspergillosis usually affects open spaces in the body, such as cavities that have formed in the lungs from preexisting lung diseases. In the sinuses and lungs, aspergillosis shows up as a ball (aspergilloma) composed of a tangled mass of fungus fibers, blood clots, and white blood cells. Furthermore, many patients with the more severe forms of aspergillosis tend to have multiple, complex health problems, such as AIDS or a blood disorder like leukemia, which can further complicate diagnosis and treatment. Our advanced ability to perform tissue and organ transplants has also increased the number of people vulnerable to fungal infections. It causes a pneumonia-like infection that, as well as affecting the lungs can spread to other areas of the body such as the eyes, heart , kidneys and brain .
Aspergillosis is an infection that mostly affects your lungs or sinuses. It is a common fungus that grows on soil, plant debris and rotting vegetation in the autumn and winter. Aspergillosis may play a role in allergy, but is best known for causing serious pulmonary infections in immunocompromised patients. Most people are either naturally immune to the spores of Aspergillus Fumigatus, or have a sufficiently healthy immune system to fight the infection. The fungal spores trigger an asthma-like allergic reaction, reducing the efficiency of the air passages of lungs (bronchioles). It causes coughing, wheezing and shortness of breath. You are most at risk from ABPA if you are aged 20-40 and have asthma. People who smoke marijuana, which can contain Aspergillus spores, may be at an increased risk of developing aspergillosis. Diagnosis and treatment are difficult. A doctor may suspect invasive pulmonary aspergillosis based on a chest X-ray or CT scan or by a sputum stain and culture. A diagnosis may be confirmed by a biopsy of infected tissue. Treatment usually includes antifungal medications.
Causes of Aspergillosis
The common Causes of Aspergillosis :
- Aspergillosis is caused by inhaling the spores of the aspergillus fungus.
- ABPA is found in people with asthma and in people with cystic fibrosis who are allergic to Aspergillus .
- Systemic corticosteroids are a known risk factor for cutaneous aspergillosis.
- Aspergillosis is caused by a fungus which is commonly found growing on dead leaves, stored grain, compost piles, or in other decaying vegetation.
- Some environmental risk factors have also been implicated; these factors include construction and contaminated ventilation systems, presumably caused by effects on spore distribution.
Symptoms of Aspergillosis
Some Symptoms of Aspergillosis :
- Weight loss
- Shortness of breath
- CNS signs
- Blood in the urine
- Facial or bone pain
Treatment of Aspergillosis
- The goal of aspergillosis treatment is to control symptomatic infection of the aspergillosis. Sometimes, surgical removal may be required.
- Treatment of aspergilloma necessitates local excision of the lesion and supportive therapy, such as chest physiotherapy.
- Allergic aspergillosis also requires desensitization and possibly steroids.
- Antifungal agents do not help people with allergic aspergillosis. Allergic aspergillosis is treated with prednisone taken by mouth.
- Antibiotic, itraconazole, may also be helpful. But, these antifungal agents do not help people with allergic aspergillosis. Some people may benefit from allergy desensitization.
- Allergic aspergillosis is also treated with oral prednisone.