Aspergillosis is an allergic response or infection brought about by a fungus named Aspergillus. Aspergillus fungi can be commonly found on dead leaves, compost piles, stored grain or other vegetation undergoing decay. The species of aspergillus comprise more than 150 types of mold that crop up commonly in the outdoor and indoor surroundings. Although most of the molds are nontoxic and harmless, a few can actually cause serious diseases in people with a frail immune system caused by lung diseases or asthma. These illnesses are collectively called aspergillosis and they range from simple allergic bodily reactions to dangerous and sometimes lethal infections.
Aspergillosis instigates when vulnerable people breathe in mold spores into their respiratory tract. For some individuals, the spores activate an allergic reaction. Other people have the tendency to contract mild or serious lung infections, depending on the strength of their immune system and the ability of their body to fight and ward off certain fungi that can cause harm to their health. The most fatal form of aspergillosis is invasive aspergillosis. It occurs when the contagion spreads further than the lungs to other vital organs. Invasive aspergillosis is still fatal even when it is discovered and treated early.
Although Aspergillosis infections can be alleviated with antifungal medications, there is no actual gurantee that the fungi will be completely eradicated. There are even unfortunate cases when the antifungal medication brings forth serious unpleasant side effects to the individuals infected with Aspergillosis fungi.
There are several forms of Aspergillosis and some of them are pulmonary Aspergillosis (allergic bronchopulmonary type or invasive type) and Aspergilloma. The allergic bronchopulmonary type of Aspergillosis is caused by an allergic reaction to the fungus which usually develops with asthma. The invasive type of Aspergillosis is considered to be more serious and dangerous than the allergic bronchopulmonary type because it is an infection with pneumonia that threatens to spread all over an individual’s body. Aspergilloma pertains to a fungus ball-like growth in a lung area that has undergone a lung disease such as tuberculosis or lung abscess.
People who suspect that they may be infected with aspergillosis should see their doctor immediately so as to undergo certain laboratory and clinical examinations to confirm or rule out any form of aspergillosis infection in the body. Detecting aspergillosis infection is highly suggested so that treatment can start immediately and to avoid spreading of the infection further in the body.
ASPERGILLOSIS SIGNS AND SYMPTOMS
Symptoms of allergic Aspergillosis include increased body temperature, body malaise, coughs, coughing up bloody or brownish phlegm, wheezing, unusual weight loss and difficulty in breathing due to lung obstruction. Symptoms of invasive Aspergillosis include chills, headache, sinusitis, chest pain, difficulty in breathing, production of bloody sputum, pain in the bones and joints, decreased urine output or presence of blood in the urine. Once a patient experiences three to five of these symptoms, he or she should not hesitate to visit the doctor. It is important to detect aspergillosis immediately because if it leads to any kind of complication, it may lead to unpleasant health condition and even death.
Physical symptoms are not enough to diagnose if one is infected with Aspergillosis. Laboratory tests should be carried out such as chest X-rays, complete blood count, CT scan, Aspergillosis precipitin anti-body, sputum stain and culture for Aspergillosis, tissue biopsy, and Aspergillus antigen skin test.
Do not be contented with physical symptoms because they are just considered to be surface symptoms. Although being too cautious and paranoid is not a good thing to do, one should know the importance of delving deeper into the physical symptoms especially if he or she feels that there might be something really wrong behind the normal fever, coughs and colds that the or she might feel.
The treatment for Aspergillosis highly depends on the form of Aspergillosis diagnosed. For Aspergilloma, surgery is required especially if there is already bleeding in the lung tissue. For invasive Aspergillosis, intake of Amphoterecin B for several weeks is required for treatment. Antifungal medications such as IV. Itrconazole or voriconazole are also prescribed for the treatment of invasive Aspergillosis. However, antifungal medications are not effective in treating allergic Aspergillosis. Prednison taken orally are considered as the treatment for allergic Aspergillosis.
Patients who are suffering from allergic Aspergillosis usually see positive results gradually. People cannot expect fast results from antifungal medications that target Aspergillosis. Patients must not easily lose hope when they feel that there seems to be no noticeable improvement in their state of health after just a few days of medication.
Invasive Aspergillosis is more dangerous and life-threatening because if the body of a person who is suffering from invasive Aspergillosis becomes resistant to the prescribed drugs, it may eventually lead to his or her death.
Just like any other disease or illness, Aspergillosis also has its own set of possible complications. Even though Amphoterecin B is the usual medicine prescribed to treat invasive Aspergillosis, long term use of the drug may lead to kidney impairment and other unpleasant side effects. Invasive lung disease seems to be the form of Aspergillosis which can bring about the most unpleasant complication; it can cause massive bleeding in the lungs of an infected individual. When the time comes that massive bleeding in the lungs occur, medication should be stopped immediately. However, it would be best to consult a doctor before stopping any antifungal medication so as to ensure the health of the patient. The doctor would have the best knowledge to decide whether or not to cease the medication or to give alternative medicines to the suffering patient.
To protect yourself from being infected with Aspergillosis, be careful in taking medications that have suppressing effects on the immune system because Aspergillus fungi target individuals who have low or weak immune systems. Make sure to take enough vitamins and supplements that will aid you in strengthening your immune system. The best way to prevent having Aspergillosis is to practice healthy living which means that individuals must eat healthy and balanced diet, exercise regularly and avoid vices such as smoking and drinking.
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