Pulmonary fibrosis is a scarring of the lung tissue that causes permanent damage to the lungs. As the scar tissue builds up and thickens, it prevents the lungs from transferring oxygen to the blood supply and diminishes the supply of healthy, oxygen-infused blood to the heart, brain, and other organs. The reduced lung function makes it increasingly hard to breathe. While the condition may develop slowly over time, many die within the first three to four years following diagnosis. There is no cure for pulmonary fibrosis, but certain medicines and therapies can help manage the disease, and some people may be candidates for lung transplants.
There are many known contributing factors to pulmonary fibrosis, but determining the exact cause of the scarring can be challenging. For cases in which a cause cannot be linked to the disease, it's referred to as idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis. Factors that increase the likelihood of developing the disease include a diagnosis of emphysema, a history of smoking, radiation treatments to the chest area, and exposure to harmful pollutants. As a person ages, the risk for building up scar tissue on the lungs also increases, and some cases are thought to have a possible genetic link.
IMAGES AND VIDEOS
UAB is an active participant in research and clinical trials for pulmonary fibrosis. We encourage you to speak to your physician about research and clinical trial options and browse the link below for more information.View Clinical Trials
Chest Pain: It’s Not Always a Matter of the Heart
UAB Hospital-Highlands Hosts Foundation for Sarcoidosis Research Patient Conference
Chair Yoga is a Popular Option for Cardiopulmonary Rehab Patients
Experimental Therapies Relieve a Woman’s Five-Month Suffocating Odyssey
CCT Completes First Air Transport of Patient on ECMO