Histiocytosis corresponds to a group of diseases that can be characterized by the large production and presence of circulating histiocytes in the blood, and which, although rare, is more frequent in men and its diagnosis is made in the first years of life, despite the indicative signs. of the disease can also appear at any age.
Histiocytes are cells derived from monocytes, which are cells belonging to the immune system, and are therefore responsible for the defense of the organism. After undergoing a process of differentiation and maturation, monocytes are called macrophages, which receive a specific name according to where they appear in the body, being called Langerhans cells when found in the epidermis.
Although histiocytosis is more related to respiratory changes, histiocytes may be accumulated in other organs, such as skin, bones, liver and nervous system, resulting in different symptoms according to the site of greatest proliferation of histiocytes.
Histiocytosis may be asymptomatic or progress to symptoms rapidly. The signs and symptoms indicative of histiocytosis may vary according to the location where there is greater presence of histiocytes. Therefore, the main symptoms are:
- Weight loss for no apparent reason;
- Difficulty breathing;
- Excessive tiredness;
- Higher risk of infections;
- Coagulation problems;
- Skin rashes;
- Abdominal pain;
- Delayed puberty;
The large amount of histiocytes can result in the excessive production of cytokines, triggering an inflammatory process and stimulating the formation of tumors, in addition to causing damage to the organs in which these cells accumulate. It is more common for histiocytosis to affect the bone, skin, liver, and lungs, particularly if there is a history of smoking. Less frequently, histiocytosis may involve the central nervous system, lymph nodes, gastrointestinal tract, and thyroid.
Due to the fact that children’s immune system is poorly developed, it is possible for several organs to be affected more easily, which makes early diagnosis important and treatment initiation soon after.
How the diagnosis is made
The diagnosis of histiocytosis is made mainly through biopsy of the affected site, in which the presence of an infiltrate with proliferation of histiocytes in the tissue that was previously healthy can be observed through laboratory analysis under a microscope.
In addition, other tests can be performed to confirm the diagnosis, such as computed tomography, search for mutations associated with this disease, such as BRAF, for example, in addition to immunohistochemical tests and hemogram, in which there may be changes in the number of neutrophils, lymphocytes and eosinophils.
how to treat
The treatment of histiocytosis depends on the extent of the disease and the affected site, and chemotherapy, radiotherapy, use of immunosuppressive drugs or surgery may be recommended, especially in the case of bone involvement. When histiocytosis is due to smoking, for example, smoking cessation is recommended, significantly improving the patient’s condition.
Most of the time, the disease can heal on its own or disappear with treatment, but it can also recur. Therefore, it is important that the person is monitored regularly so that the doctor can observe if there is a risk of developing the disease and, thus, establish treatment in the early stages.
Always consult a doctor.
Verified by RJ985 – Brazilian natural medicine CMIO.org