What is lung fibrosis?
Lung fibrosis or pulmonary fibrosis is the formation of scar tissues in the alveoli thus leading to reduced elasticity and the expandability of these tissues. The scarring would be the result of minute damages inflicted on these tissues due to various irritants. Although, the body usually rebuilds without the formation of scar tissues, in susceptible individuals, the damages would be repaired through scar tissue formation. These new tissues would not be elastic as the normal tissues and would not function adequately enough in the exchange of gases. Thus, a lung which has been affected by this condition would not be functioning as it should be.
What are the symptoms of a patient with lung fibrosis?
Some of the symptoms of a patient presenting with lung fibrosis would be, shortness of breath, dry cough, chest discomfort due to coughing, fever and at its worst, there can be associated signs and symptoms of heart failure as well.
What causes lung fibrosis?
There are certain elements in our environment both at home as well as in the workplace which can be associated with lung fibrosis. Some of the well recognized causes for lung fibrosis would be exposure to asbestoses and silicon dust, grains and certain metal dusts. Patients who are suffering from tuberculosis are also at risk of developing lung fibrosis and certain medications such as amioderon, bleomycin and nitrofurantoin are also known to be associated with this disease. Apart from the above, connective tissues disorders as well as radiation exposure also plays a key role as triggers.
What are the preventive and progress limiting measures?
Whatever the origin of this damage, the resulting scars or fibrosis would not be reversible. Thus, the prevention plays a pivotal role in lung fibrosis both in avoiding the occurrence of the disease as well as to reduce its progression. Some of the preventive measures that can be taken in making a diagnosis are illustrated below.
Avoid being exposed to potential irritants which can damage the lungs and lead to pulmonary fibrosis. These could be at the workplace or even at home. The necessity increases if a person has been already diagnosed of such illness and in that case complete avoidance should be undertaken. Wearing masks and other relevant protective gear would minimize the exposure and thus the damage to the lungs. Proper ventilation at the workplace would alleviate the concentration of irritant substances in the air which can lead to lung fibrosis. Early treatment of tuberculosis and connective tissue diseases would facilitate associated fibrosis from occurring in the lungs. Avoid smoking as well as secondary exposure to smoke as it can worsen the disease state as well as initiate the formation of scars. Controlling of blood sugars will facilitate proper healing in the damaged tissues and presumably avoid formation of scar tissues. Do enough exercises to build the lung capacity as well as to improve the circulation within the lungs. Thus, it will facilitate good healing as well as compensate for the lost elasticity. Control Gastroesophagial reflux as it can lead to lung fibrosis as a long term complication. Good nutrition would also help in proper healing of damages in the lungs and thus will avoid formation of scar tissues.