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The official blog of the Lung Institute.

What Causes Fibrosis of the Lungs?

5 Apr 2018
| Under Disease Education, FAQs, Lung Disease | Posted by
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What causes fibrosis of the lungs

Pulmonary fibrosis is a chronic lung disease that thickens and hardens the lung passageways responsible for carrying oxygen into the bloodstream. It can cause shortness of breath even with minimal activity. Over time, it can lead to permanent inflammation or scarring of lung tissue.

This interstitial lung disease can affect anybody, but can be more common in men than women, and tends to occur in patients between the ages of 50 and 70. So what causes fibrosis of the lungs?

Environmental pollutants

Those who work or live around environmental pollutants, like hard metal dusts, asbestos fibers, coal or grain dust, and animal proteins, may be at risk of developing pulmonary fibrosis.

Medications

In some, antibiotics, certain heart medication, chemotherapy drugs and anti-inflammatory medications can lead to scarring of the lungs.

Radiation therapy

In addition to chemotherapy drugs, radiation therapy for lung or breast cancer can result in lung scarring months or years after the initial treatment.

Other medical conditions

Medical conditions like mixed connective tissue disease, systemic lupus erythematosus, rheumatoid arthritis and sarcoidosis can cause pulmonary fibrosis.

Unknown factors

In the case of idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis (IPF), the cause of lung scarring is unknown. All doctors know is that something within or outside the patient’s lungs attack the lungs repeatedly over time, scarring the tissue inside and around air sacs and making it more difficult for oxygen to pass to the bloodstream.

While the specific cause of pulmonary fibrosis can’t usually be determined in IPF, risk factors include smoking and certain viral infections like Epstein-Barr, influenza A and hepatitis C.

Treating pulmonary fibrosis

The lung scarring from pulmonary fibrosis is irreversible, but certain measures can treat the symptoms and severity of the condition. The Lung Health Institute offers regenerative therapy using cells from within a patient’s body, harvesting them and reintroducing them to the lungs. There, they can help promote the growth of healthy lung tissue, reducing scarring and inflammation and improving airflow. For more information on the Lung Health Institute’s treatment options, contact a patient coordinator at (800) 729-3065.

* Every patient is given a Patient Satisfaction Survey shortly after treatment. Responses to the 11-question survey are aggregated to determine patient satisfaction with the delivery of treatment.

^ Quality of Life Survey data measured the patient’s self-assessed quality of life and measurable quality of improvement at three months of COPD patients.

All claims made regarding the efficacy of Lung Institute's treatments as they pertain to pulmonary conditions are based solely on anecdotal support collected by Lung Institute. Individual conditions, treatment and outcomes may vary and are not necessarily indicative of future results. Testimonial participation is voluntary. Lung Institute does not pay for or script patient testimonials.

As required by Texas state law, the Lung Institute Dallas Clinic has received Institutional Review Board (IRB) approval from MaGil IRB, now Chesapeake IRB, which is fully accredited by the Association for the Accreditation of Human Research Protection Program (AAHRPP), for research protocols and procedures. The Lung Institute has implemented these IRB approved standards at all of its clinics nationwide. Approval indicates that we follow rigorous standards for ethics, quality, and protections for human research.

Each patient is different. Results may vary.