Pulmonary Fibrosis (cont.)
George Schiffman, MD, FCCP
Dr. Schiffman received his B.S. degree with High Honors in biology from Hobart College in 1976. He then moved to Chicago where he studied biochemistry at the University of Illinois, Chicago Circle. He attended Rush Medical College where he received his M.D. degree in 1982 and was elected to the Alpha Omega Alpha Medical Honor Society. He completed his Internal Medicine internship and residency at the University of California, Irvine.
Melissa Conrad Stöppler, MD
Melissa Conrad Stöppler, MD, is a U.S. board-certified Anatomic Pathologist with subspecialty training in the fields of Experimental and Molecular Pathology. Dr. Stöppler's educational background includes a BA with Highest Distinction from the University of Virginia and an MD from the University of North Carolina. She completed residency training in Anatomic Pathology at Georgetown University followed by subspecialty fellowship training in molecular diagnostics and experimental pathology.
In this Article
- What is pulmonary fibrosis?
- What are causes and symptoms of pulmonary fibrosis?
- How is pulmonary fibrosis diagnosed?
- How is pulmonary fibrosis treated?
- What are the complications of pulmonary fibrosis?
- Can pulmonary fibrosis be prevented?
- What is the prognosis for pulmonary fibrosis?
- Where can I get information to improve the quality of life for those with pulmonary fibrosis?
- Find a local Pulmonologist in your town
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.
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