Pulmonary fibrosis is a chronic lung disease that can cause shortness of breath even with minimal activity. Over time, it can lead to permanent inflammation or scarring of lung tissue, thickening and hardening the lung passageways responsible for carrying oxygen into the bloodstream. There are several possible causes of pulmonary fibrosis.
What Causes Pulmonary Fibrosis?
Those working or living around environmental pollutants, like hard metal dusts, asbestos fibers, coal or grain dust and animal proteins, may be at risk of developing pulmonary fibrosis. Massive pulmonary fibrosis can develop, for example, from coal worker’s pneumoconiosis (black lung).
Certain antibiotics, heart medications, chemotherapy drugs and anti-inflammatories can cause scarring of the lungs, leading to pulmonary fibrosis.
In addition to chemotherapy drugs, radiation therapy — especially for lung or breast cancer — can lead to lung scarring. This damage may not show up until months or years after the initial treatment.
Other medical conditions
Certain medical conditions, like sarcoidosis, mixed connective tissue disease, rheumatoid arthritis and systemic lupus erythematosus, can cause pulmonary fibrosis.
Sometimes, the cause of pulmonary fibrosis is unknown. This is called idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis (IPF). Essentially, something is attacking the lungs over time, scarring the tissue within and around the air sacs and making it more difficult for the lungs to pass oxygen to the bloodstream. Risk factors may include smoking and viral infections like Epstein-Barr, influenza A and hepatitis C. Genetics may also be a factor, since there are families with two or more people that have IPF.
Treating pulmonary fibrosis
The lung scarring from pulmonary fibrosis is irreversible, but certain measures may help treat the symptoms and severity of the condition. This may include medication, oxygen therapy, pulmonary rehabilitation and lifestyle changes. Cellular therapy may be another option. Lung Health Institute offers cellular therapy that uses the cells from within a patient’s body to help target and reduce the inflammation in the lungs.
Contact Lung Health Institute today for more information or to schedule a free consultation at 855-882-1292.