Pulmonary fibrosis is a lung condition when the lung tissue becomes damaged and scarred. It is also called idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis because the cause is most commonly unknown.

The damaged and scarred tissue become stiff and therefore the lungs can’t work properly.



The symptoms of pulmonary fibrosis are:

  • Shortness of breath, which gets worse over time
  • Dry and persistent cough
  • Fatigue
  • Unexplained weight loss
  • Change in the shape of finger and toenails



The cause of pulmonary fibrosis is unknown. However, there are suggested factors that cause the lung tissue damage, such as:

  • Family history
  • smoking
  • exposure to types of dust, toxins
  • other diseases like tubercolosis, pneumonia, scleroderma, rheumatoid arthritis
  • radiotherapy, chemotherapy
  • viral infections (Epstein-Barr virus or hepatitis C)
  • genetic tendency
  • chronic aspiration – when food, drink or saliva enter the lungs


Risk Factors

Although pulmonary fibrosis is a rare condition, the factors that increase the risk of developing it are:

  • Your occupation if you are exposed to pollutants
  • Age – more common in men over the age of 50, although it occurs in children and infants
  • Cancer treatments
  • Emphysema
  • Smoking
  • Genetic factors



Complications of pulmonary fibrosis may include:

  • Chest infection – bronchitis, pneumonia, flu
  • Pulmonary hypertension occurs because the pulmonary arteries are compressed by the scarred tissue; it becomes progressively worse and may be fatal
  • Right-sided heart failure because the blood from the right chamber goes into the pulmonary artery into the lungs; if the artery is blocked, the heart has to  has to pump harder
  • Lung cancer
  • Respiratory failure when blood oxygen levels fall dangerously low