Allergic alveolitis: Description, Causes and Risk Factors:The lungs are filled with millions of tiny sacs called alveoli that supply new blood with fresh oxygen and remove carbon dioxide from old blood. In the case of alveolitis, the sacs are inflamed and stop expanding and contracting properly. Over time, inflammation can leave alveoli permanently scarred and completely unable to function. There are many different known causes of alveolitis, including severe viral infections, frequent respiratory illnesses, radiation therapy, and autoimmune disorders. Alveoli can also be damaged when a person breathes in harmful irritants, such as asbestos debris, silica dust, or metal shavings.Allergic alveolitis, while not strictly a zoonotic disease (because it is not really an infection), is still an issue for concern. It is also known by a number of other monikers - hypersensitivity pneumonitis, parakeet dander pneumoconiosis and pigeon lung disease. In people with pet or breeding birds this particular alveolitis is caused by contact with feather dander, dust and feces of birds. The disease itself can be cryptic: clinical signs can occur within two years but may take as many as 10-20 years of continuous exposure. Once the disease process is set into motion it may occur in acute, subacute or chronic forms.It is important to seek early diagnosis and treatment of allergic alveolitis at the first signs of lung disease to prevent major complications such as permanent scarring or sudden respiratory failure. Treatment for alveolitis may involve taking medications, making healthy lifestyle changes, or undergoing surgery.Reversal of the subacute form of the disorder is possible, again, if exposure is stopped. If it iscontinues a chronic, non-reversible type occurs in which progressively difficult breathing (dyspnea), dry cough and weight loss are the key signs. This is potentially serious, and can bemistaken for a bad cold or influenza virus. With chronic alveolitis permanent lung problemsmay develop - including a serious illness called pulmonary fibrosis, which reduces the lungs'ability to take in air properly.Symptoms:Symptoms may include:Coughing.
Diagnosis:A doctor can usually diagnose alveolitis in the early stages by taking imaging scans of the lungs. X-rays and computerized tomography scans (CT-scans) can reveal the extent of inflammation and scarring in alveoli tissue. In addition to confirming the presence of the disorder, the doctor typically performs physical tests to see how well the lungs are working. The stage of disease and the severity of breathing problems help to determine the appropriate course of treatment.Treatment:The severe nature of this disease can be reduced by taking some fairly simple precautions:Wearing face masks and other protective gear while cleaning cages, cleaning cages daily, bathingpet birds frequently (which they will enjoy), avoiding overcrowding of birds and cages in theaviary (which is better for the birds as well) and installing air filtration systems which containmultiple and hepa filters.NOTE: The above information is educational purpose. The information provided herein should not be used during any medical emergency or for the diagnosis or treatment of any medical condition.DISCLAIMER: This information should not substitute for seeking responsible, professional medical care.
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