Lung Granuloma: Causes, Symptoms, Treatment, Diagnosis
What Do We Mean by Lung Granuloma?
Before we come to what Lung Granuloma is, we first need to know what exactly a granuloma means. Now, Granulomas are small nodules or lesions that tend to grow inside the body as a result of some sort of inflammation. This inflammation in the body can be both infectious as well as noninfectious. These nodules or granulomas can develop in any part of the body like the liver or the lungs. These nodules when they grow in the lungs are termed as Lung Granuloma.
Lung Granuloma is a condition which remains completely asymptomatic and is diagnosed when radiological studies are done to rule out certain other medical conditions pertaining to the chest. Bacteria and fungal infections are the most common causes for infectious lung granuloma. Sarcoidosis which is a medical condition which results due to immune system of the body reacting to certain substance resulting in development of granulomas is the main noninfectious cause of Lung Granuloma.
Treatment for Lung Granuloma is basically dependent on the cause of the condition and if a clear etiology cannot be found then no particular treatment is rendered and periodic followups are recommended to check on the status of the lesions or nodules and to see if the lungs are functioning normally.
What are the Causes of Lung Granuloma?
As stated, Lung Granuloma can be both infectious as well as noninfectious.
Infectious Causes of Lung Granuloma:
Bacterial and fungal infections are the most common causes of Lung Granuloma. The bacteria most likely to cause Lung Granuloma are mycobacteria which include tuberculosis or other organisms which are referred collectively as nontuberculous mycobacteria. These types of bacteria are found in abundance in contaminated water and soil. Fungi that may cause Lung Granuloma include Histoplasma, Coccidioides, and Cryptococcus. These are found in abundance in soil and bird droppings. When the spores of these fungi open and inhaled, they cause lung infections which result in the development of Lung Granulomas. Rarely, certain other infections may also cause Lung Granulomas.
Noninfectious Causes of Lung Granulomas:
Sarcoidosis is the most common noninfectious cause of Lung Granulomas at present in the United States. There is no known cause of sarcoidosis but this condition causes inflammation resulting in development of Lung Granulomas. Certain medical conditions such as inhaling foreign particles can also lead to development of Lung Granulomas.
What are the Symptoms of Lung Granuloma?
In majority of the cases of Lung Granuloma, there are no symptoms and the condition is diagnosed as an incidental finding on radiological studies. The symptoms that an affected individual may experience will be from the cause of Lung Granuloma like if infection is the cause of it then the symptoms experienced will be fever or malaise. In case if sarcoidosis is the cause of Lung Granuloma then symptoms may include fatigue, fever, weight loss, swelling of the lymph nodes.
How is Lung Granuloma Diagnosed?
Since Lung Granuloma do not cause any symptoms it is difficult to diagnose them. In cases where certain symptoms are observed they are so mild that to pinpoint it to Lung Granuloma is very difficult. In majority of the cases, Lung Granuloma is diagnosed incidentally when a radiological study in the form of an x-ray or a CT scan is being done to rule out certain other medical condition pertaining to the chest.
How are Lung Granuloma Treated?
As Lung Granuloma are basically benign and harmless, there is no treatment required for people who do not have any symptoms, although once Lung Granuloma has been detected then periodic followups will be required to check on the status of the condition and to see whether the lungs are getting affected or not. Other than this, if the cause of the Lung Granuloma is identified whether it be infectious or noninfectious then treatment is aimed at treating that condition.
If Lung Granuloma is caused due to bacteria infection then antibiotics will be prescribed to eliminate the bacteria causing the infection. Antifungal medication will be prescribed for treatment of fungal infections resulting in Lung Granuloma.
If sarcoidosis is found to be the cause of Lung Granuloma, then treatment with steroids to treat sarcoidosis is administered provided there are no contraindications to the use of steroids.
There are also certain medications which can be given to treat sarcoidosis like Plaquenil. Methotrexate is also known to be given to treat sarcoidosis as it suppresses the immune system and thus halts the progression and thereby treating Lung Granuloma.