Mumbai : Metropolis Healthcare, a leading diagnostic service provider with a pan India presence, has launched Hypersensitivity Pneumonitis (HP) Profile, a new series of test for timely diagnosis of Hypersensitivity Pneumonitis by identifying the allergens (foreign substances) that causes the condition. Hypersensitivity Pneumonitis is a rare immune system disorder that affects the lungs of a segment of population which is caused by sensitization to inhaled organic antigens (like toxins or enzymes) or low molecular weight chemical compounds. These substances trigger the immune system, causing short or long term inflammation especially in part of the lungs called the interstitium. The inflammation makes it difficult for the lungs to function properly, even leading to permanent organ damage. Pigeon droppings and pigeon pertaining dust is the most common form of allergen that causes this ailment.
HP profile antibody testing is one of the diagnostic criteria for the test. It includes IgG test for – Alternaria, cladosposirum, penicllium, pigeon droppings, aspergillus, Mucor, etc. One widely cited set of criteria includes the following findings (though not validated): symptoms compatible with HP; examining evidence of exposure to an appropriate antigen by either the history or antibody testing results; checking symptom periodicity that correlates with recurrent antigen exposure; Imaging findings compatible with HP and Lymphocytosis on BAL [Bronchoalveolar Lavage (BAL) is a minimally invasive, well-tolerated bronchoscopy procedure which plays an important role in the diagnosis of interstitial lung disease (ILD)]; and Histopathologic features compatible with HP.
Dr Deepak Sanghavi, Head-Technical Operations, West SBU India, Metropolis Healthcare Ltd., said, “We have become accustomed to breathing in air pollutants and dust. With the constant intake of such irritants, we fail to notice any symptoms initially. After repeated exposure for a prolonged period, we start to experience symptoms that signal to an underlying problem. By then, the condition has worsened leaving less scope of treatment. With Hypersensitivity Pneumonitis affecting a large number of people, it has become even more essential to prevent, check for, monitor and diagnose the condition in time. We at Metropolis Healthcare believe in identifying such conditions and creating awareness about the same among people as they go largely undetected. Considering the condition is difficult to cure in the later stages, early diagnosis is the only way we can mitigate the risk and reverse damage, hence we are happy to launch the Hypersensitivity Pneumonitis Profile to detect the condition.”
No significant treatment or cure has been identified or developed in order to cure Hypersensitivity Pneumonitis. The condition can be treated and reversed by diagnosing the condition in an early stage by avoiding exposure to environmental substances like dust or medicines such as corticosteroids that mitigate the risk of inflammation. Hence it is imperative to diagnose the disease at a nascent stage.
Constant inhaling of irritants causes the air sacks in the lungs to get inflamed. The walls of the air sacks get filled with white blood cells and in some conditions with fluid. The inflammation improves if the individual is no longer exposed to those substances. If the condition is not diagnosed on time and goes untreated, the chronic inflammation can cause serious irreversible lung scarring. Lung scarring which is also known as pulmonary fibrosis occurs when the condition goes untreated for a long period of time occurring in the later stage of the disease. When the lungs have scar tissue, an individual may face difficulty in breathing. The substance can be a bacterial, protozoal, animal or insect protein or rarely a chemical compound. Viral infections or exposure to pesticides can be another reason for development of Hypersensitivity Pneumonitis as it affects immunity making the lungs more susceptible to organic antigen exposure.
In recent times, there has been an increased awareness of the environmental factors associated with Hypersensitivity Pneumonitis. When an individual is exposed to an inciting antigen, it does not result in developing the disease. The second and following exposure can trigger the first symptoms. It is essential to undertake preventive care and time diagnosis to mitigate the risk of Hypersensitivity Pneumonitis.