Pulmonary Fibrosis: Overview

Modified on 2009/10/14 21:33 by admin
Pulmonary fibrosis (PF) is a disorder that occurs when the air sacs or "alveoli" of the lungs are replaced with scar tissue. Scar tissue hampers the lungs' ability to transfer oxygen to the bloodstream and may cause a stiffening of lung tissue. Breathing becomes difficult and dyspnea, or general breathlessness can result. The patient may require oxygen therapy or a lung transplant. The condition can be fatal if left untreated.

Pulmonary fibrosis usually occurs in adults between the ages of 40 and 70 and affects over five million people worldwide, 200,000 in the United States. It is estimated that 40,000 people die each year from the disorder. Symptoms include, but may not be limited to, shortness of breath, dry cough, and swelling of the legs. In severe cases pulmonary fibrosis may lead to heart failure.

Several causes of pulmonary fibrosis are known. Occupational exposure to toxic dust particles and bacteria is the primary cause of the disorder, although pulmonary fibrosis may be a side effect of certain medical drugs. Connective tissue disorders and collagen diseases, as well as radiation treatment, have been associated with pulmonary fibrosis.

See Also

  1. Lung & Airway Disorders
  2. Prescription & Over-the-Counter Drugs: Overview
  3. Harmful Bacteria & Fungus: Overview
  4. Radiation Therapy: Overview
  5. Radon
  6. Synthetic Vitreous Fibers
  7. Workplace Injuries & Discrimination: Overview
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