Pulmonary Fibrosis (PF)
Pulmonary fibrosis (PF) is one type of interstitial lung disease (ILD), which refers to a group of chronic lung diseases characterized by scar formation that causes a stiffening of the lung tissue. According to the Pulmonary Fibrosis Foundation, over 200,000 people in the United States have pulmonary fibrosis.
Pulmonary fibrosis begins with inflammation of the walls of the small airways (the bronchioles), the walls and spaces of the air sacs (the alveoli), or the small blood vessels (the capillaries) of the lungs. This inflammation may cause the tissue between the air sacs (the interstitium) to become scarred (fibrosis).
Scarred lung tissue becomes stiff and permanently destroyed, and can no longer transport oxygen through the lungs. Early symptoms of pulmonary fibrosis include shortness of breath and a dry cough.
- Patients with pulmonary fibrosis may be prescribed corticosteroids, a type of medication that can help reduce the inflammation in the lungs
- As the disease progresses, patients may require supplemental oxygen and eventually rely on mechanical respiratory assistance. Severe pulmonary fibrosis can lead to respiratory failure and death.
- Patients with severe pulmonary fibrosis who do not respond to medical treatment may require a Lung Transplant. During a lung transplant, the diseased lungs are replaced with donor lungs.