What Is Aspergillosis?

Aspergillosis is a group of diseases caused by a fungus called Aspergillus. Diseases caused by aspergillus generally affect the respiratory system, but can also spread to other body parts, such as skin, eyes, or sinuses. The majority of fungi are harmless, but some types of fungus can cause serious illness when spores are inhaled by people with immune system disorders, lung disease, or asthma. For people with immune system disorders, try to stay away from sources of fungi, such as building construction areas. In addition, it is advisable to wear a mask.

Symptoms of Aspergillosis
Aspergillosis can cause different symptoms, depending on the type of illness. The three main types of aspergillosis are:
  • Allergic bronchopulmonary aspergillosis. It is a type of aspergillosis that is caused by allergies when inhaling aspergillus particles. Allergic bronchopulmonary aspergillosis usually affects people with asthma or cystic fibrosis . Symptoms of this condition are fever, cough with phlegm or coughing up blood.
  • Chronic pulmonary aspergillosis. Diseases that have other names aspergilloma is a long-term infection that usually only develops in patients with diseases that have problems in the previous lung, such as tuberculosis or chronic obstructive pulmonary disease . Common symptoms of this disease are shortness, wheezing, weight loss, fatigue, and coughing up blood.
  • Invasive pulmonary aspergillosis. This type of aspergillosis only affects people with immune system disorders. Aspergillus fungus can spread to the bloodstream of the patient, so the risk of lethal if not treated quickly. Symptoms of invasive pulmonary aspergillosis generally include fever, chills, coughing up blood, tightness, chest pain or joint pain, nosebleeds, half swollen face.
In addition to the above three types, there are also types of aspergillosis that can attack body parts outside the lungs, such as sinuses. If it attacks the sinuses, the symptoms may include nosebleeds, fever, runny nose, facial pain, and headaches.

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Causes of Aspergillosis
Aspergillosis is caused by aspergillus fungus. This fungus can not be transmitted between humans.

Outside the room, aspergillus fungus can be found in rotting foliage, plants, trees and grains. While indoors, these mold spores can be found in air conditioning, heating ducts, some food, and spices.

In healthy humans, exposure to aspergillus will not cause disease. Because, the human immune system can destroy the spores of these fungi. However, in patients with immune system disorders, aspergillus spores will attack the lungs and other body parts.

Some factors that may increase a person's risk of developing aspergillosis are:
  • Suffer from immune system disorders, such as HIV / AIDS .
  • Has a low white blood cell count.
  • Has an air cavity in the lung (cavity) formed by radiation or other lung diseases such as tuberculosis and sarcoidosis .
  • Have asthma or cystic fibrosis .
  • Long-term treatment of corticosteroids.

Diagnosis of Aspergillosis
Aspergillosis is difficult to diagnose and the method of detection varies, depending on the type. Doctors will usually recommend patients suspected of having aspergillosis to undergo some tests, such as:
  • Scan test . Generally use X-rays or CT scan to see the presence of fungus ball ( aspergilloma ) in the lungs.
  • Sputum test. The doctor will take samples of sputum patients to study the presence of aspergillus content.
  • Blood and tissue examination . To see antibodies, allergens, and fungal molecules, and to help doctors identify allergic bronchopulmonary aspergillosis .
  • Bronchoscopy. The camera's long flexible hose will be inserted into the patient's lungs through the nose or mouth, to see the condition inside the lungs. In the bronchoscopy procedure can be simultaneously performed biopsy, which is taking a number of lung tissue to be sampled and researched. Biopsy is generally performed to diagnose invasive pulmonary aspergillosis.

Treatment and Complications of Aspergillosis
Treatment of aspergillosis varies, depending on the type of illness suffered by the patient. Some possible treatment steps are:
  • Observation. Patients with mild aspergilloma occasionally do not require treatment, and only need to be observed regularly using X-rays.
  • Anti-fungal drugs. Provision of antifungal drugs is a standard way of handling for people with invasive pulmonary aspergillosis. However, these drugs can cause serious health problems, such as kidney and liver damage.
  • Oral corticosteroid drugs . The purpose of this drug is to prevent the worsening of asthma or cystic fibrosis suffered by patients with aspergillosis. Oral corticosteroid treatment is usually intended for allergic bronchopulmonary aspergillosis patients .
  • Surgery. It is the primary treatment option for lung bleeding cases due to fungus ball , since antifungal drugs can not penetrate aspergilloma properly. Surgery is performed to remove the ball fungus .
  • Embolization. The radiologist will insert a small catheter into a blood vessel and inject substances to clog the bloodstream into the lung cavity where the ball fungus is located. This is done to stop the bleeding.
If neglected or not treated properly, aspergillosis can cause complications of:
  • Systemic infection. The infection can spread rapidly to other parts of the body, such as the brain, heart, and kidneys.
  • Bleeding. Patients with aspergillosis can experience severe bleeding in the lungs.

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