Pulmonary fibrosis belongs to the less common lung diseases. It is manifested in particular by shortness of breath and a dry, irritating cough.
The therapy depends on the exact type and cause. In principle, lung exercise, among other things, helps to improve the resilience of the lungs. Consequences of pulmonary fibrosis on the heart can lead to complications. Should therefore be checked regularly.
In the following article we will inform you about the causes, the symptoms and the treatment.
What exactly is pulmonary fibrosis?
Pulmonary fibrosis is a condition called interstitial lung disease. It is also referred to as pulmonary scaffold disease. Pulmonary fibrosis is a disease of the Connective tie of the lung. Normally, healthy connective tie made of collagen surrounds the alveoli and forms a supportive framework.
Fibrosis of the lungs is caused by chronic inflammation to a proliferation of this connective tie. As the disease progresses, the tie becomes increasingly hard and scarred. Thereby also Walls of the alveoli affected. This is where the exchange of oxygen and carbon dioxide normally takes place. This gas exchange is restricted due to the scarred lungs, resulting in Lack of oxygen in the blood. In addition, the lung loses Elasticity.
What are the symptoms of pulmonary fibrosis??
The lung disease often causes No symptoms for years. The first symptom you notice with pulmonary fibrosis is Shortness of breath. In the initial stage of pulmonary fibrosis, the shortness of breath occurs physical exertion only at. In the course affected persons have even at rest Shortness of breath. The Breathing becomes faster and superficial.
Other symptoms are:
– Dry Irritative cough
– Feeling of a Breathing stops during inhalation Effort during breathing, thus often Weight loss
changes in the hands due to chronic oxygen deficiency: watch glass nails and drumstick fingers
What causes pulmonary fibrosis?
The causes of pulmonary fibrosis are very different and numerous. However, up to 50 percent of those affected are found to have no cause for the scarred lung. This is called idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis.
The main causes are:
Autoimmune diseases: z.B. sarcoidosis, systemic lupus erythematosus Inhaled pollutants: z.B. Asbestos, quartz dust or even certain allergens from animals and plants (exogenous allergic alveolitis) Medication: z.B. in the context of chemotherapy (bleomycin, methotrexate) Infections: z.B. Tuberculosis
How is the disease diagnosed?
If you suffer from increasing shortness of breath, you should definitely consult a doctor or a physician. Shortness of breath is a symptom of many different diseases. Should be urgently clarified further.
For the diagnosis and the search for the cause of the disease, the detailed survey of the medical history (anamnesis) of importance. It is important that you tell the doctor about any possible Risk factors Report for the development of pulmonary fibrosis. This includes in particular Work with dusts, so for example in mining or also with animals, above all Birds.
In the physical examination the doctor pays attention to. the doctor when listening to the lungs for certain sounds that are typical of pulmonary fibrosis. In addition, a blood collection. In the blood, among other things, the proportions of oxygen and carbon dioxide checked. In the initial stage in pulmonary fibrosis, only the oxygen content is too low. Later, the carbon dioxide content in the blood increases.
A Lung function diagnostics gives the doctor or. the physician more precise information about the severity of the fibrosis. In addition, a X-ray or CT image of the lungs help the physician in making a diagnosis. Sometimes Tie samples necessary from the lungs. For this purpose Bronchoscopy biopsy or irrigation (lavage) is performed.
How is the treatment of pulmonary fibrosis?
If you suffer from pulmonary fibrosis, regardless of the stage, you should start immediately to Stop smoking. risk for complications. Other diseases. In general, you should lead a healthy lifestyle and pay attention to your diet and weight. In this way, you yourself can play a part in improving the shortness of breath.
All affected persons should be vaccinated against Pneumococcus and annually against Flu get. This can reduce the risk of serious infections.
If you have severe shortness of breath, a Oxygen therapy to improve the shortness of breath at home. Patient:inside exercises for endurance. Learn to breathe properly. Regular exercise can slow the progression of the disease and improve lung function.
You may be able to tell a Level of care (old: care level) for yourself or your:n dependent:n get approved with pulmonary fibrosis. If you need help in everyday life due to shortness of breath or increasing frailty, a care degree and possibly a mobile care service may be useful. The degree of disability for pulmonary fibrosis also depends on the severity of the disease. For some professionals, the disease is also considered a Occupational disease recognized.
Ask your healthcare provider about these topics. He or she can give you important addresses and information.
Depending on the cause of the condition, other measures may be important:
– If an external Trigger known cause of pulmonary fibrosis, you should avoid. For example, with inhaled dusts, you should think about changing jobs if you are not yet retired. Otherwise, special filtering systems can reduce exposure to pollutants. – If you have a Basic disease that has led to pulmonary fibrosis, treating it is essential for stopping the scarring in the lungs. – If the cause of the pulmonary fibrosis is unknown, doctors often use medications with Cortisone, if necessary in combination with otheranti-inflammatory agents (z.B. azathioprine). The most common form of idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis is sometimes described as having a Pirfenidone
– The last option in the final stage of pulmonary fibrosis is the Lung transplantation.
Can you die from pulmonary fibrosis?
The remodeling of the connective tie may not reversed will. Pulmonary fibrosis is therefore not curable. In the early stages of pulmonary fibrosis, it is often possible to slow or stop the progression of the disease. However, increasing hardening of the lung tie can lead to complications. Death from the consequences of pulmonary fibrosis in advanced stages is therefore possible. The Life expectancy with pulmonary fibrosis is, however, individually very different. It depends, among other things, on the time of diagnosis, the response to therapy and the other illnesses of the patient. of the affected from.
One feared complication Pneumonia. In most cases, pneumonia is easily treatable with antibiotics. But it can also be complicated and lead to death.
The main long-term consequence of fibrosis of the lungs is a excessive load on the right heart. Due to lung diseases such as fibrosis or COPD, there is increased prere in the lungs. The right heart must pump against it. This causes heart failure in the right heart, the so-called "Cor pulmonale". In the long term, right heart strain can lead to cardiovascular failure and death.
In End stage of pulmonary fibrosis, the entire lung is left barely functional. In this case only Lung transplant save your life.
Depending on the cause of pulmonary fibrosis, the risk for the development of lung cancer and other tumors Increases. Especially if the pulmonary fibrosis associated with Asbestos stands, because asbestos is a risk factor for cancer.