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Reason for Consult

Pulmonary Fibrosis

Pulmonary Fibrosis is made up of a group of disease entities characterized by the stiffness of the lung tissue. There are multiple potential causes including overactive immune response, exposure to various agents such as chemical fumes, rheumatologic disease such as rheumatoid arthritis, systemic lupus, and other conditions. Over time, these diseases cause the scarring of the lung tissue results in pulmonary fibrosis.

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Symptoms

Pulmonary fibrosis progresses slowly. Early signs include shortness of breath with exertion and a dry cough that slowly becomes worse. Once fully established, the shortness of breath becomes more severe and occurs with minimal exertion, such as while walking. Pulmonary fibrosis is diagnosed by performing a pulmonary function test as well as a CAT scan of the chest. At times, a lung biopsy may also be necessary.

Treatment

Early diagnosis is critically important to controlling the disease and its consequences, which include hypoxia (low oxygen levels) and pulmonary hypertension, a type of high blood pressure that affects the arteries in the lungs and the right side of the heart.