Pulmonary fibrosis is a condition in which the tissue deep in your lungs becomes scarred over time. This tissue gets thick and stiff. That makes it hard for you to catch your breath, and your blood may not get enough oxygen.
Causes of pulmonary fibrosis include environmental pollutants, some medicines, some connective tissue diseases, and interstitial lung disease. Interstitial lung disease is the name for a large group of diseases that inflame or scar the lungs. In most cases, the cause cannot be found. This is called idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis.
- Shortness of breath
- A dry, hacking cough that doesn't get better
- Weight loss for no known reason
- Aching muscles and joints
- Clubbing, which is the widening and rounding of the tips of the fingers or toes
Your doctor may use your medical history, imaging tests, a biopsy, and lung function tests to diagnose pulmonary fibrosis. There is no cure. Treatments can help with symptoms and improve your quality of life. They include medicines, oxygen therapy, pulmonary rehabilitation, or a lung transplant.
NIH: National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute
Diagnosis and Tests
- Blood Oxygen Level (National Library of Medicine) Also in Spanish
- Chest X-Ray (National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute) Also in Spanish
- Pulmonary Function Tests (National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute) Also in Spanish
- Spirometry (Mayo Foundation for Medical Education and Research)
- What is Bronchoscopy? (National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute) Also in Spanish
- Maintaining Your Health (Pulmonary Fibrosis Foundation)
- Pulmonary Rehabilitation: MedlinePlus Health Topic (National Library of Medicine) Also in Spanish
- Familial Pulmonary Fibrosis (National Jewish Health)
- Genetics Home Reference: hereditary fibrosing poikiloderma with tendon contractures, myopathy, and pulmonary fibrosis (National Library of Medicine)
- Genetics Home Reference: Hermansky-Pudlak syndrome (National Library of Medicine)
- Genetics Home Reference: idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis (National Library of Medicine)
- ClinicalTrials.gov: Pulmonary Fibrosis (National Institutes of Health)
Journal Articles References and abstracts from MEDLINE/PubMed (National Library of Medicine)
- How the Lungs Work (National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute)