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Pulmonary Fibrosis (cont.)

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What are the complications of pulmonary fibrosis?

Idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis tends to be relentless in its progression. The complications that occur are a reflection of the failure of the pulmonary system. Dyspnea, decreased activity, and signs of heart failure can occur. As the lungs fail, the blood pressure in the lungs rises. This results in increased work for and ultimately failure of the right side of the heart which pumps the blood through the lungs. This failure can result in fatigue, leg swelling, and overall fluid accumulation in the body. The immobility and sluggish blood flow can increase the risks for blood clots. Depression is frequently seen in this devastating disease.

Can pulmonary fibrosis be prevented?

Idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis has an increased frequency in cigarette smokers. This is just one more reason not to smoke. The cause of idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis is unknown, and therefore prevention is difficult. There is a rare form of idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis that runs in families. Work is being done at National Jewish Hospital in Denver, Colorado trying to identify markers for this disease.

Unfortunately, since this is a fatal disease without effective therapy, there are many charlatans trying to take advantage of these stricken individuals and their families. There is no evidence that special diets or supplements or bowel preparations will help this disease in any way.

What is the prognosis for pulmonary fibrosis?

The prognosis of this disease is poor. The survival of patients with this disease is less than 5 years. It is probably best to become involved with an academic center in the area where research on interstitial lung diseases is studied in order to receive the latest treatments. These centers often are linked with a lung transplant program. Clinical trials are the best way of treating this disease at this time.

Medically Reviewed by a Doctor on 1/8/2014

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Source: MedicineNet.com
http://www.medicinenet.com/pulmonary_fibrosis/article.htm

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