Pulmonary Fibrosis

What is it?

Pulmonary fibrosis is a disease marked by scarring in the lungs. Tissue deep in the lungs become thick, stiff, and scarred. This scarring is called fibrosis.

Risks and symptoms

The scarring of the lung tissue interferes with a person’s ability to breathe. Pulmonary fibrosis can lead to other medical problems, including collapsed lungs, lung infections, blood clots in the lungs, and lung cancer. The disease can also lead to respiratory failure, pulmonary hypertension, and heart failure. Most cases of pulmonary fibrosis have no known cause. Cigarette smoking, certain viral infections, exposure to environmental pollutants, certain medications, genetics, and gastroesophageal reflux disease may increase the risk of pulmonary fibrosis.

Treatment

There is no cure for pulmonary fibrosis. A person with pulmonary fibrosis may need supplemental oxygen to help with breathing. Your doctor may prescribe prednisone, n-acetyl cysteine, azathioprine, or cyclophosphamide to reduce inflammation. If you are younger than 65, your doctor may recommended a lung transplant.