What leads to pneumocystis infections?

Opportunistic. Any condition that compromises the immune system can allow pneumocystis to manifest: cancers, HIV disease, immunosupressant drugs for organ transplants or for autoimmune diseases (ra, psoriasis, etc); chemotherapy.
Immune suppression. Pneumocystis pneumonia occurs when a persons immune system is not working. This can occur with some diseases, like HIV infection or as a consequence of a therapy for a disease in which the immunity has been suppressed. For example high dose steroids which may be necessary in some autoimmune disease can predispose to pneumocystis. We now know use of a prophylactic antibiotic can prevent this.

Related Questions

Will pneumocystis infection kill me?

It can. It is unfortunate that by the time you get pneumocystis your immune system is severely compromised. It is a treatable condition with good but not excellent survival chances. Treatment should continue until your immune system builds back up again.
It can. Unfortunately, by the time you get pneumocystis your immune system is severely compromised. It is a treatable condition, but not always survivable. Therapy should continue until your immune system is fully reconstituted.

What are the tests for pneumocystis infections?

Several. A chest x-ray can be suggestive but staining of the respiratory secretions to see the cyst form of the organism is the best test for this infection found almost entirely in severely immune suppressed people.

How common is it for somebody to get pneumocystis infections?

Normally uncommon. This is generally a disease which affects immunocompromised individuals. Patients with hiv-aids, those with certain malignancies, or other conditions in which normal host-defenses have been diminished are most affected. Seldom seen in "normal" individuals.

With pneumocystis infections what else should I be concerned about?

Immune deficiency. Pneumocystis infection generally occurs in people with immune deficiency. At a minimum you should be tested for HIV infection.

What are the tests for pneumocystis infection?

Several. A chest x-ray can be suggestive but staining of the respiratory secretions to see the cyst form of the organism is the best test for this infection found almost entirely in severely immune suppressed people.

What are the symptoms of pneumocystis infection?

Pulmonary symptoms. Cough (usually dry), shortness of breath, and fever. The onset is typically more gradual than with bacterial pneumonia, getting progressively worse over days or weeks. Chest pain is less common than with bacterial pneumonia.

What is the definition or description of: Pneumocystis infection?

Infection. By the quasi-fungal microbe pneumocystis jiroveci (carinii), generally an opportunistic infection, usually pneumonia, afflicting immunocompromised individuals.

Are there long-term effects of pneumocystis infections?

Yes. Pneumocystis infection commonly occurs in patients with immune deficiency and that has long term consequences.

Should I see a specialist for pneumocystis infection, or can my regular doctor take care of it?

Pneumocystis. Best to see a specialist since this is a pretty uncommon infection and most general doctors will have little experience in managing it, unless they do a lot of hiv/aids work or cancer treatment. The other reason to see a specialist is that most pneumocystis occurs in the context of a disease that impairs your immune system, and this needs to be evaluated as well.
Depends who it is... Depending on the reasons for getting pneumocystis and if your regular doctor is qualified (eg. Certified by the aahivm or belongs to hivma), he/she can also take care of it. In certain parts of the country, there are enough id specialists that can take care of patients with pneumocystis since many also require help in managing co-morbid conditions such as HIV or rheumatoid arthritis.