September is Pulmonary Fibrosis Awareness Month, but what actually is Pulmonay Fibrosis? Haley Ellis, CNP - Pulmonology shares her insight:
Pulmonary Fibrosis is a disease of the lungs that is caused by inflammation and scarring of the tiny air sacs in your lungs called alveoli. These tiny sacs are where the lungs and blood exchange oxygen and carbon dioxide. This scarring leads to fibrosis of the lung tissue, which makes it difficult to breathe and hard to absorb the oxygen into the bloodstream.
Common symptoms of Pulmonary Fibrosis are dry cough, fatigue, weakness, unexplained weight loss, or shortness of breath - particularly with exertion.
The exact cause of Pulmonary Fibrosis varies by patient, and the disease can be difficult to diagnose as it is a type of interstitial lung disease, where there are more than 200 types. Causes of Pulmonary Fibrosis or interstitial lung disease can be from certain medications, autoimmune diseases, environmental and occupational exposures, or radiation treatments. There are instances where the cause of Pulmonary Fibrosis is unknown, and this is called idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis. No one is certain why some people are more susceptible to developing pulmonary fibrosis over others.
There are treatments available to help specifically manage the symptoms of the disease and help slow the progression. If you are experiencing any of the possible symptoms of Pulmonary Fibrosis, please reach out to your doctor.
We care for many patients living with Pulmonary Fibrosis right here at the Pulmonology Clinic at Prairie Lakes Healthcare System. Call our office to make an appointment at 605-882-7652.