Histoplasmosis is a lung disease caught after breathing in the spores of a fungus. This fungus is most commonly found in the Midwestern USA. Many people breathe in these spores and experience no symptoms so there is no need for medical intervention. The doctor only becomes involved if the condition becomes damaging to your health. Medicine divides the more serious histoplasmosis into three categories: Acute histoplasmosis, Chronic cavitary histoplasmosis, and Disseminated histoplasmosis. The exact symptoms the patient experience, and when they are likely to appear, are some of the key differences between these categories. While histoplasmosis usually takes a mild form, its extreme manifestation can be life-threatening.

1. Running a high fever

The list of illnesses where fever features as a symptom is extremely long with many more common causes than histoplasmosis. The doctor is only likely to investigate this possibility if they know the patient has been in an area where the fungus spores are in the air. They will be particularly concerned for anyone in one of the most at-risk groups. In general, those with weak immune systems are the most likely to be affected seriously. This group includes the very young and the very old and anyone who has undergone an organ transplant.   

high fever Histoplasmosis


2. A persistent cough

If someone develops a cough after visiting an area where these fungal spores are in the air, the possibility that they have contracted this illness arises. The doctor might know from listening to a cough which variety of histoplasmosis their patient has. If he or she has a dry cough that is a symptom of acute histoplasmosis. However, if they cough up thick, yellow-colored phlegm, this is a chronic cavitary histoplasmosis symptom. It is important to point out that the chance the cough comes from one of the more common bronchial complaints is many times higher.

cough Histoplasmosis

3. How long after exposure the first symptoms occur

The doctor learns about the nature of their patient's histoplasmosis from the time that passes between exposal to the fungal spores and appearance of the symptoms. For example, if they contract acute histoplasmosis, coughing and other symptoms usually start between two weeks and a month after they were in an area where they might have breathed in the spores. Yet, if they breathed in a very large amount of these irritants, the symptoms appear earlier than this. Researchers note that symptoms might start just three days after visiting one of these places.

symptoms Histoplasmosis


4. Pains in the chest

Everyone becomes concerned about chest pains. People instinctively assume that they could be a sign of a heart problem. In view of the potential risks it is wise to be cautious, but in many cases, the explanation is not what the patient fears. The presence of histoplasmosis in the lungs also frequently brings on chest pains. Someone who feels this way needs to go for a checkup regardless of whether he or she has had any contact with air infested with these spores. If it turns out to be histoplasmosis, the pains should not continue for more than three or four weeks.

chest pain Histoplasmosis


5. Suffering from headaches

This is another of the symptoms often associated with histoplasmosis that a patient (and even a doctor) could easily miss. After all, headaches come on for all kinds of reasons including stress-related situations as well as illnesses. Even if someone visited an area where these fungal spores are common, he or she cannot know that they have caused these headaches. If the cause does happen to be histoplasmosis, after a few weeks this symptom should go away without any need for medication.

headaches Histoplasmosis


6. Experience extreme fatigue

The fatigue that is sometimes caused by this condition far exceeds the kind of tiredness you experience after a hard day at work or college. It leaves a person feeling totally drained of energy and unable to go about their daily routine. In common with most other symptoms of this illness, many people may have this condition but feel no fatigue. The more common physical and emotional challenges that bring on fatigue remain by far the most likely cause.

fatigue Histoplasmosis


7. Breathing difficulties

Shortness of breath is usually associated with asthma and a number of other common health problems, or perhaps a sign of the aging process, so it might come as a surprise to discover that it could also be a histoplasmosis symptom. Whoever experiences this a few weeks or so after visiting a place where they might have breathed in spores, might have developed acute histoplasmosis. Although these breathing difficulties are very disturbing if histoplasmosis was the cause they should not continue more than a few weeks.

breathing Histoplasmosis


8. Respiratory failure could occur in extreme scenarios

It is rare to find that the condition has put the patient's life at risk but this threat may arise in specific circumstances. One of the most dangerous scenarios occurs if acute histoplasmosis takes a serious turn for the worse, and develops from breathing difficulties into respiratory failure. This situation demands immediate medical attention to avert a real threat to the patient's life. The same applies in the case of disseminated histoplasmosis where an infection spreads from the lungs around the body.

respiratory Histoplasmosis


9. Early diagnosis is a key to successful treatment

The success of the medical care depends on a great extent on early diagnosis. Doctors question patients to verify that they were recently in an area where they might have been exposed to fungal spores. They proceed to examine the results of X-rays and blood tests. Different strains of the illness have distinctive tests. For example, the doctor uses bronchoscopy to make an accurate and speedy diagnosis of disseminated histoplasmosis,

Histoplasmosis treatment


10. Anti-fungal therapy treatment

In the majority of infections, symptoms disappear after a few weeks without any need for a doctor to become involved. If symptoms continue beyond this time, anti-fungal therapy is the most popular treatment. Chronic histoplasmosis patients require anti-fungal care for as long as 18 months to make sure all symptoms have gone. Disseminated histoplasmosis sufferers require IV and oral drugs to fight off this illness.

Histoplasmosis antifungal


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