Allergic bronchopulmonary aspergillosis is triggered by increased inflammation of the lungs which worsens asthma significantly. Remember that some individuals with asthma are highly allergic to the fungal spores which can trigger an attack if inhaled. Aspergillus is a prevalent type of fungus that thrives on decaying vegetation such as fallen leaves and compost heaps. It is also present in air-conditioning systems and healthcare facilities.
Indications of allergic bronchopulmonary aspergillosis
- Evident worsening of the asthma symptoms
- Appetite loss
- Generalized malaise
- Coughing up of blood
- Productive cough with brown-colored mucus or mucus plugs
Some of the complications of allergic bronchopulmonary aspergillosis that is not properly treated include the following:
- Bronchiectasis – recurrent episodes of inflammation that can impair the bronchiolar walls
- Hemoptysis – irritated and inflamed airways that bleed and blood-streaked phlegm being expelled
- Atelectasis – varying extent of lung tissue collapse
- Respiratory failure – the airways are blocked or a severe attack constricts the airways
How is it diagnosed?
- Chest X-ray – this test is used to check for fluid in the lungs and other anomalies such as stretched, enlarged or damaged airways
- Skin test – the skin is pricked and a small amount of the allergen is introduced. If the individual is allergic, there is itchiness, swelling and redness at the site.
- Blood test – this is used to check for the presence of Aspergillus antibodies
- Sputum test – the spores are oftentimes visible in the mucus when viewed under a microscope
Remember that there is no available cure for allergic bronchopulmonary aspergillosis. The condition is usually managed using corticosteroids given orally or using an inhaler. Individuals with the condition should be regularly monitored to ensure that the condition is effectively managed.
The monitoring might include assessment of the antibody levels and evaluation of the airflow capacity of the lungs. Individuals with asthma are generally instructed to avoid any known triggers if possible. It is vital to avoid areas such as marshes, compost heaps, forests, bogs and other areas where there are rotting vegetation.