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A-Z Family Medical Encyclopedia by Dr. Michael Peters

By Dr. Michael Peters

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Radiation alveolitis is caused by irradiation of the lungs and may occur as a rare complication of radiotherapy for lung or breast cancer. SYMPTOMS AND DIAGNOSIS Alveolitis usually causes a dry cough and breathing difficulty on exertion. A chest X-ray of a person suffering from alveolitis usually shows mottled shadowing across the lungs. Blood tests may be performed to look for specific antibodies (proteins manufactured by the immune system: see antibody) to an allergen. They may also be performed to look for evidence of an autoimmune disorder (in which the immune system attacks the body’s own tissues).

2 Histamine granule Allergen Mast cell Electron micrograph of various pollen grains Pollen is a common example of an allergen. The airborne pollen grains from plants (such as grasses and trees) can trigger an allergic reaction, the most common of which is allergic rhinitis (hay fever). Histamine released Antibodies on surface The antibodies attach to cells in the Binding of allergens to antibodies on the 3granules tissues called mast cells, which contain 4 surface of mast cells leads to the release of histamine.

Affected organs typically become enlarged. An accumulation of amyloid in the heart may result in arrhythmias (disturbances of the heart rate or rhythm) and heart failure (reduced pumping efficiency of the heart). If the stomach and intestines are affected, symptoms such as diarrhoea may develop, and the lining of these organs may become ulcerated. Primary amyloidosis is often characterized by deposits of amyloid in the skin, which appear as slightly raised, waxy spots. Deposits of amyloid in the kidneys may cause kidney failure, which can be fatal.

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