Pulmonary Fibrosis

Pulmonary fibrosis is a type of lung disease that occurs when lung tissue becomes damaged and scarred. This thickened, stiff tissue makes it more difficult for your lungs to work properly. As pulmonary fibrosis worsens, you become progressively more short of breath. The scarring associated with pulmonary fibrosis can be caused by a multitude of factors. But in most cases, doctors can't pinpoint what's causing the problem.

Causes of Pulmonary Fibrosis

Although there’s no known cause of pulmonary fibrosis, there are certain conditions, traits or habits that may also play a role in raising your risk. These conditions are known as risk factors and include:

Non-modifiable risk factors: These factors are irreversible and cannot be changed. The more of these risk factors you have, the higher your chance of developing this disease.

  • Family History/Genetics
  • Older age
  • Male gender

Modifiable risk factors: These factors can be modified, treated or controlled through medications or lifestyle changes.

  • Long history of smoking and/or drug abuse

Other conditions that contribute to development of pulmonary fibrosis

Symptoms of Pulmonary Fibrosis

Pulmonary fibrosis symptoms vary, depending on the severity of the disease. Some of the most common symptoms include:

  • Shortness of breath
  • Dry cough
  • Fatigue
  • Unexplained weight loss
  • Aching muscles and joints

Diagnosis of Pulmonary Fibrosis

To diagnose pulmonary fibrosis, your doctor will typically perform a physical exam, review your symptoms and conduct several tests. Some of these tests include:

Diagnostic tests and procedures

Treatment of Pulmonary Fibrosis

The lung scarring that occurs in pulmonary fibrosis can't be reversed, and no current treatment has proved effective in stopping progression of the disease. Doctors will evaluate the severity of your condition to determine the most appropriate treatment for your condition. Some treatment options include:

Medications

  • Pirfenidone (Esbriet) and nintedanib (Ofev) will help slow the progression of pulmonary fibrosis.
  • Anti-acid medications will help combat GERD symptoms.

Medical and surgical procedures

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