Pulmonary Fibrosis, also known as lung fibrosis, is a lung disease caused when lung tissues are damaged and scarred. The scarred lungs make the individual difficult to breathe and lungs to function properly. The lung scarring is caused by a number of factors. In most of the cases, Doctors are able to identify the cause and cure it. But in other cases, the cause can not be found and hence the problem prolongs causing pulmonary fibrosis beyond repair, also known as idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis.
Pulmonary Fibrosis Symptoms:
The major symptoms of pulmonary fibrosis include:
- Dry cough
- Sudden weight loss
- Muscle ache and joint ache
- Widening, rounding and clubbing of the tips of fingers and toes
- Shortness of breath
The severity of symptoms varies from person to person based on the intensity of the disorder.
Lung Fibrosis Causes:
Pulmonary fibrosis thickens the tissue around the air sacs in the lungs. This makes it difficult for oxygen to pass into the bloodstream. The condition is caused by a number of factors, including – prolonged exposure to toxins, radiation therapy, the side effect of some medications, etc.
Environmental Factors: Prolonged exposure to – silica dust, coal dust, grain dust, asbestos fibres, hard metal dust, bird and animal droppings, etc.
Radiation Treatment: People who receive radiation therapy for lung/breast cancer tend to develop pulmonary fibrosis after a few months of the treatment. The severity may depend upon- how much of the lung were exposes to radiation, the total amount of radiation administered, etc.
Viruses and tobacco exposure are a few of the other reasons that trigger idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis. Hereditary gene carrier is one of the other reasons.
Pulmonary Fibrosis Treatment
Depending on the severity of the Lung fibrosis, there are a number of treatments available. However, refer to a Pulmonary Expert and know your condition precisely before you start with any treatment.
- Oxygen Therapy: Oxygen therapy is prescribed when the oxygen level goes below 88%. The oxygen level is tested while doing different activities.
- Pulmonary Rehabilitation: Lung Rehabilitation includes exercise training – stress, anxiety, and depression management.
In case of prolonged idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis, The Pulmonologist may suggest the patient undergo lung transplant or on high dose medications.
Lung Fibrosis Diagnosis:
Following are the three immediate effects Doctors look for in a patient:
- Stiff Lungs: Lung scarring and inflammation causes stiff lungs. The breathing muscles have to work hard in pulling air with each breath. Also, stiff lungs hold less air.
- Low oxygen levels in the blood: Scar tissues block the movement of oxygen in the bloodstream thus dropping the oxygen level in the body. The brain, because of no proper oxygen supply tends to affect the function of the body.
Though the article gives you an overview of what lung fibrosis is and how to identify it, we still recommend you going for an expert pulmonologist nearby for better opinion.
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