What is Lung Fibrosis

Lung Fibrosis is better known as Idiopathic Pulmonary Fibrosis, which actually means scarring throughout lungs that happens due to development or formation of excessive fibrous connective tissues in lungs. When the body reacts to some foreign element it leads to lung fibrosis, as such reaction leads to inflammation of the Alveoli and results into scars on lung tissues. If Alveoli or air sacs get scarred, then fibrous tissues takes the place of lung tissues and averts the alveoli from inhaling oxygen. This leads to shortness of breath, chest discomfort, and even chronic dry cough. Such scarring can also lead to permanent loss of oxygen transportation to the body.

Symptoms of lung fibrosis

Some of the main symptoms of lung fibrosis include:

  • Coughing
  • Shortness of breath
  • Less exercise tolerance
  • Weakness and fatigue
  • Rapid weight loss and appetite loss

The symptoms of lung fibrosis mainly vary with the cause of the fibrosis. At the same time, the progression and severity of the symptoms might also vary with time. A history of dyspnea along with exertion mainly suggests lung fibrosis. At times, inspiratory crackles can also be heard on auscultation at the base of the lung.

Causes of lung fibrosis

Secondary effect of some other types of diseases can lead to lung fibrosis. Majority of these diseases comes under the category of interstitial lung diseases. However, sometime this problem can crop up without any certain cause. Then it is termed as idiopathic lung fibrosis. Some of the primary diseases as well as conditions, which can lead to lung fibrosis include:

  • Hypersensitivity pneumonitis, which results from inhaling dust with  fungal or bacterial products
  • Some medications such as bleomycin, methotrexate, amiodarone, nitrofurantoin, etc
  • Some connective tissue diseases like Wegener’s granulomatosis and sarcoidosis
  • Radiation therapy administered to the chest
  • Smoking cigarette

Diagnosis of lung fibrosis

At times, doctor can hear sounds like Velcro crackles in the lung, while examining with the stethoscope. In such cases, CT scan can be used for demonstrating any abnormalities. Confirmation for such kind of diagnosis can be done with lung biopsy. In such kind of biopsy, several tubes are placed all through the patient’s chest wall, and one of them is used for cutting off a small piece of lung, which is send for assessment. After this, the tissue that has been removed is tested histopathologically for confirming presence of fibrosis.

Treatment of the disease

There are limited treatment options for lung fibrosis, as there is still no evidence about any medications, which can help to improve the condition. One of the therapeutic options is lung transplantation, which is opted in severe cases. At times, medications are prescribed for slowing down the process, as some lungs responds positively to corticosteroids or some other medications. Some kind of fibrosis responds to therapy like immunosuppressive therapy. One can also prevent less severe lung fibrosis from aggravating by keeping away from causative materials.

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