Histoplasmosis is an infectious condition caused by a fungus known as Histoplasma. This fungus is present in the soil, and it is especially common in soil containing bird and rat droppings. Patients become infected with the fungus when they inhale its spores. Typically, the spores become airborne through home renovation, cleanup, and demolition projects. Construction workers, farmers, landscapers, and others who frequently work with soil are at an elevated risk of this infection. In the United States, the Histoplasma fungus is prevalent in the Ohio and Mississippi river valley areas. While the majority of infected individuals will not develop symptoms, those who become symptomatic may have a dry cough or a fever, and they might develop significant fatigue as well. Some patients may also experience chest pain. These symptoms usually resolve on their own for patients who are otherwise healthy. However, medication may be needed for patients who have histoplasmosis and an underlying medical condition that weakens the immune system.
The list below outlines some recommended preventative steps and potential complications of histoplasmosis.
Adrenal insufficiency, one of the potential complications of histoplasmosis, is a condition in which the adrenal glands do not make enough of a hormone called cortisol. Patients with adrenal insufficiency may experience weight loss, fatigue, loss of appetite, and abdominal pain. To diagnose this insufficiency, doctors carry out blood tests, and imaging studies can sometimes be useful in finding the cause. The typical treatment method for adrenal insufficiency is a prescription of cortisol that helps restore the body’s levels of this hormone to normal. Patients with adrenal insufficiency may also benefit from consuming a diet that is high in sodium. For patients with histoplasmosis, symptoms of adrenal insufficiency normally improve as the histoplasmosis is managed.
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