Candida Pneumonia

What is Candida Pneumonia and How to Diagnose it?

The fungal pneumonia or commonly known as Candida pneumonia is caused by the Candida species of fungus, and it is a highly infectious disease which is caused in the lungs. Pneumonia is usually detected from an x-ray, but the detection of Candida pneumonia can be fairly tricky to diagnose, and may require BAL examination (Broncho alveolar lavage) to analysis the infection in the lungs.
 

BAL Examination
BAL Examination
A 2014 study published in the ‘Open Forum Infectious Diseases: Oxford Journals’ reviewed a number of cases of pneumonia with BAL specimens. It was discovered that the BAL method of examining the content inside the lungs was the most conclusive in reveling if a patient had Candida pneumonia or not.

Another publication in the ‘Journal Clinical Intensive Care’ again recommends the examination of lung tissue to identify the presence of Candida pneumonia. Moreover, it also suggests that the medication ‘fluconazole’ can show some resistance to different Candida species, so doctors may use a different type of anti-fungal treatment.

These studies just go to show the importance of the BAL method in diagnosing Candida pneumonia. However, not all medical practices have the facility of a BAL examination, and people suffering from fungal pneumonia may not want to go down the route of inserting a tube down there lungs. But a BAL examination is currently the most conclusive method of detection. Although anti-fungal drugs are the preferred medication for fungal lung infections, they can also have a number of different side-effects, so be sure to read about these side-effects and consult your doctor if you have any concern.
 



Other than BAL test, X-rays can to some extent reveal if pneumonia is present within the lungs of a suspected patients, but also opting for a blood test can provide a good insight as to if its Candida pneumonia or not.
 
Candida pneumonia mainly occurs among the people residing in developing countries. This kind of fungal infection is usually caused in the lungs of the patients whose immune system are suppressed. It mainly occurs due to inhalation of any spores or pollen grains and conidia. It may also take place if any latent infection gets activated again. Fungi that belong to the species: Candida, Asperigillus, Mucor are the opportunistic fungi which tend to cause such fungal pneumonia in the immune-suppressed patients who have some kind of acquired or congenital defects.

 

Signs and Symptoms

The common signs and symptoms include:

  • Fatigue and shivering in the body.

  • Fever – continued fever should raise one’s suspicion of a fungal infection

  • Dry cough

  • Discomfort in breathing

  • Breathlessness

  • Haemoptysis

  • Endemic mycoses – obstruction of the airways

  • Increased allergic symptoms and flare ups of asthma

  • Feeling wheezy

  • Rapid heart rate

  • Abnormally rapid breathing

  • Feeling of bronchial obstruction

  • Signs of fluid in the lungs

  • Joint pain or swelling

The above symptoms are common in case of such pneumonia.

 

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How Does One Get Candida Pneumonia?

Pollen and Fungus Spores
Pollen and Fungus Spores
Once we breath in fungus spores or pollen grains and conidia, they entry into the alveoli of the lungs through the connecting roots. This fungi can then travel in the air in the inter-cellular spaces and also in the intermediate positions between the alveoli. After the attack of the micro-organism in the lungs, the immune system is triggered after the release of cytokines and thus in response of which the white blood cells are signaled and release neutrophils. The neutrophils that are released into the blood engulf the antigens or the foreign bodies that have gained entry into our body.

 



The pulmonary infections of the lungs can be caused by a number of reasons, here are few:

  • Breathing in the fungus spores of droppings of birds & bats (histoplasmosis).

  • Coccidioidomycosis is type of fungal infection affecting the lungs that is self-limiting which can give rise to Candida pneumonia in the patient in future.

  • People who have AIDS or HIV, in many common cases people suffer from pneumocystis pneumonia that can in future cause fungal pneumonia.

  • If in some cases a patient inhale soil that has been contaminated by fungi, it can lead to pulmonary infection that is known as crytpcoccosis, and even fungal pneumonia of the lungs.

  • Traveling to places where fungal pneumonia are common can also increase your chances of getting this infection.

 

References:
Imported pulmonary coccidioidomycosis – Journal of Zhejiang University-SCIENCE B – 2011 – By Zheng-yang Wang, Sheng-lan Wen & Ke-jing Ying
www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3072471/#!po=2.83019

Candida Pneumonia in Intensive Care Unit – Open Forum Infectious Diseases Journal – 2014 – By Ronny M. Schnabel, Catharina F. Linssen, Nele Guion, Walther N. van Mook
ofid.oxfordjournals.org/content/1/1/ofu026.full

Candida Pneumonia – Clinical Intensive Care Journal – 1999 – By TT Bauer & A Torres
www.tandfonline.com/doi/abs/10.3109/tcic.10.2.33.40

 

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