What Is Cryptogenic Organizing Pneumonia?
Cryptogenic Organizing Pneumonia is rare pathological condition of the lungs in which the bronchioles and the alveoli which are the airways and the air sacs present in the lungs get blocked due to inflammation. What exactly is the cause of this inflammation and what exactly causes Cryptogenic Organizing Pneumonia is unknown as of yet. Even though the term pneumonia is used in naming this condition but it is definitely not an infection of the lungs. Cryptogenic Organizing Pneumonia presents itself with gradual onset of shortness of breath and dry cough which worsens with time.
The most preferred treatment for Cryptogenic Organizing Pneumonia is oral steroids. In the beginning phase of Cryptogenic Organizing Pneumonia, an individual will have flu like illness and shortness of breath with exertion. This will be followed by unintentional weight loss and dry nonproductive cough. In some cases, individuals may even have chest pain, joint pain, or hemoptysis due to Cryptogenic Organizing Pneumonia. Normally it takes several months for an individual to completely recover from Cryptogenic Organizing Pneumonia.
What Causes Cryptogenic Organizing Pneumonia?
As stated above, the exact cause for Cryptogenic Organizing Pneumonia is unknown but it is believed to be caused due to inflammation blocking the airways and the air sacs in the lungs. Hence it is important for the treating physician to rule out all the causes of Organizing Pneumonia before diagnosing an individual with Cryptogenic Organizing Pneumonia. These other forms of Organizing Pneumonia may be caused due to infection which may be bacterial, viral, or fungal. Certain drugs may also cause Organizing Pneumonia. Certain connective tissue disorders have also been associated with Organizing Pneumonia.
What Are The Symptoms Of Cryptogenic Organizing Pneumonia?
Some of the symptoms of Cryptogenic Organizing Pneumonia are:
- Persistent nonproductive cough for a period of over two months
- Low grade fever
- General feeling of being sick
- Shortness of breath with or without activity
- Loss of appetite
- Unintentional weight loss
How Is Cryptogenic Organizing Pneumonia Diagnosed?
The diagnosis of Cryptogenic Organizing Pneumonia is done basically by ruling out other causes for the symptoms. In order to do this, a detailed history of the patient will be taken and a physical examination will be done. Radiological studies in the form of x-rays, CT scan, or MRI of the chest area may be taken to look for other causes of the symptoms. A pulmonary function test may also be conducted to check the status of the lungs and whether they are functioning normally.
The physician may also order a lung biopsy to rule out other causes of the symptoms. Once all the tests have been done and there is no other cause found for the obstruction of the airways and the air sacs then a confirmed diagnosis of is given of Cryptogenic Organizing Pneumonia.
How Is Cryptogenic Organizing Pneumonia Treated?
In some cases, Cryptogenic Organizing Pneumonia resolves on its own and does not require any specific treatment, although in majority of cases treatment is required to treat this condition. The most preferred treatment for Cryptogenic Organizing Pneumonia is steroid therapy. In case if there is no improvement seen with steroid treatments then cytotoxic medications are used for treatment of Cryptogenic Organizing Pneumonia. It usually takes weeks to months of treatment for a patient to notice improvement in symptoms of Cryptogenic Organizing Pneumonia.
Prognosis & Recovery Period Of Cryptogenic Organizing Pneumonia?
The prognosis of Cryptogenic Organizing Pneumonia is very good. Majority of patients with this condition recover within a few months and regain their lost weight and appetite with treatments. It is important to mention here that the patient should be diligent in following the instructions of the healthcare provider for a speedy recovery from a condition like Cryptogenic Organizing Pneumonia. In some cases, relapses have been noted but these are very few and far between. Thus if a patient is diligent in taking his or her medications as prescribed by the doctor then within a few months he or she can be completely cured from Cryptogenic Organizing Pneumonia.
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