Pulmonary Fibrosis Facts
What is pulmonary fibrosis?
Pulmonary fibrosis is a condition that causes the lungs to thicken and become scarred. The exact cause of this condition is unknown. However, doctors do theorize that this condition is triggered by an inflammatory response to an unknown trigger. This illness most often affects people who are between the ages of 50 and 70.
What are some of the symptoms of this illness?
Chest pain, shortness of breath and dry cough are some of the main symptoms of pulmonary fibrosis. These symptoms can very easily be attributed to minor symptoms. That is why this illness sometimes goes undiagnosed.
How is this illness diagnosed?
Doctors will perform a variety of tests to diagnose this illness. Chest X-rays, pulmonary functioning test and tests to measure the amount of oxygen in the blood are performed to rule out similar conditions. Doctors may also examine the toes and fingers to see if there is an enlargement of the fingernail bases. Enlargement of the fingernail bases, which is also referred to as clubbing, is often a sign of a lung problem.
How can this condition be treated?
Currently, there is no cure for this illness. Corticosteroids, which are a class of medication that reduce inflammation, are frequently prescribed to treat this illness. However, there has been little evidence to suggest that these medications can actually improve the outcome of this condition. Some patients will need supplemental oxygen to help them breathe. Lung rehabilitation can help a person also help improve the symptoms of this condition. It is a practice that focuses on using diet, exercise and other lifestyle changes to improve lung functioning.
What is the prognosis like for a patient with this illness?
The prognosis for a patient with pulmonary fibrosis is not always certain. Some people get better with treatment while others will get worse. This condition has a tendency to progress either very quickly or slowly.
How can this condition be prevented?
Because the exact causes of this condition remain unknown, there is nothing that can be done to prevent it. However, people want to make sure that they avoid smoking or inhaling the smoke of others. Smoking can possibly trigger this illness.