A progressive disease, pulmonary fibrosis is characterized by scarring and thickening that occurs to lung tissues. This damage occurs as a result of repeated injury to the lung tissue. The most common symptoms of pulmonary fibrosis are shortness of breath and a dry, hacking cough that does not improve. While there is no cure, treatments are available to slow the progression of the disease.
Pulmonary fibrosis is a medical term used to describe scarring and thickening deep inside the lungs. Pulmonary fibrosis is seen as a result of many types of conditions. These conditions have been categorized into a group known as interstitial lung diseases (ILDs). ILDs are also sometimes called interstitial pulmonary fibrosis, although not all interstitial lung diseases will actually cause fibrosis.
The most common symptoms of pulmonary fibrosis are shortness of breath and a dry, hacking cough that does not go away. Other symptoms that a person may develop over time include:
- Aching muscles and joints
- Gradual, unintended weight loss
- A general ill feeling (malaise)
- Enlargement of the fingers or toes, which is called clubbing.
As the condition worsens, a person may develop other potentially life-threatening conditions, including:
(Click Symptoms of Pulmonary Fibrosis to learn more about the symptoms of this disease.)