|Classification and external resources|
Farmer's lung (not to be confused with silo-filler's disease) is a hypersensitivity pneumonitis induced by the inhalation of biologic dusts coming from hay dust or mold spores or any other agricultural products. It results in a type III hypersensitivity inflammatory response and can progress to become a chronic condition which is considered potentially dangerous.
The only cause of farmer’s lung is repeated exposure to tiny microorganisms which inhabit moldy hay. They are inhaled and often provoke the creation of IgE antibodies that circulate in the bloodstream, these types of immune response are most often initiated by exposure to thermophilic actinomycetes (most commonly Saccharopolyspora rectivirgula), which generates IgG-type antibodies. Following a subsequent exposure, IgG antibodies combine with the inhaled allergen to form immune complexes in the walls of the alveoli in the lungs. This causes fluid, protein, and cells to accumulate in the alveolar wall which slows blood-gas interchange and compromises the function of the lung. After multiple exposures, it takes less and less of the antigens to set off the reaction in the lung. The most prominent antigens are thermophilic actinomycetes and fungi.
Farmer’s lung reactions can be categorized as acute and chronic reactions. Acute and chronic reactions have the same symptoms but for chronic reactions, the symptoms are much more severe. Farmer’s lung symptoms include:
These symptoms develop between four and eight hours after exposure to the antigens. In acute attacks, the symptoms mimic pneumonia or flu. In chronic attacks, there is a possibility of the victim going into shock and dying from the attack.
Depending on the severity of the symptoms, FLD can last from one to two weeks, or they can last for the rest of one’s life. Acute FLD has the ability to be treated because hypersensitivity to the antigens has not yet developed. The main treatment is rest and reducing the exposure to the antigens through masks and increased airflow in confined spaces where the antigens are present. Another treatment for acute FLD is pure oxygen therapy. For chronic FLD, there is no true treatment because the patient has developed hypersensitivity meaning their FLD could last the rest of their life. Any exposure to the antigens once hypersensitivity can set off another chronic reaction.
The only prevention for FLD is ventilating the work areas putting workers at risk and using face masks to filter out the antigens attempting to enter the lungs through the air.
FLD affects approximately .5%-3% of farmers. In some regions of the world such as Asia, the rate is more around 6%.
|This article about a medical condition affecting the respiratory system is a stub. You can help Wikipedia by expanding it.|