by Dr ShyamThampi, Senior Consultant Respiratory/ Pulmonary Medicine, ACI Cumballa Hill Hospital, Mumbai
Are you unable to carry out your daily activities with ease due to coughing? Is there fatigue or unintentional weight loss? Are you often breathless? Then, you need to immediately consult the doctor as it can be pulmonary fibrosis. Here, we brief you more about this.
Pulmonary fibrosis is a life-threatening lung disease that occurs when lung tissues are damaged and scarred. This thickened, stiff tissue can make it challenging for your lungs to function fully. As lung fibrosis worsens, the person tends to gasp for breath. During the pandemic, many post-Covid patients have been diagnosed with it, and it requires prompt medical action. This condition is severe, steals your peace of mind, and affects your ability to do the daily chores with ease. You will be shocked to know that lung damage due to pulmonary fibrosis is irreversible. Thus, early diagnosis, swift treatment, adequate hydration, and opting for vitamin C and zinc supplements may be helpful in managing lung fibrosis.
The symptoms of pulmonary fibrosis: Shortness of breath (dyspnea), weight loss, tiredness, a dry cough, tiredness, unexplained weight loss, aching muscles, and rounding of the tips of the fingers or toes (clubbing). The symptoms can vary from one person to another. The symptoms will worsen over time, and one’s health will deteriorate. This condition can even lead to the loss of life. Did you know? Those who tend to have acute exacerbations can be kept on a ventilator as well.
The causes of this condition: It is seen as the tissue around and between the air sacs (alveoli) in the lungs become thick and scarred. Thus, you will not be able to breathe properly due to reduced oxygen supply. Certain toxins, a few medical conditions, radiation therapy, and some medications can be the culprits behind lung damage. Your doctor is the right person to determine the underlying cause behind the condition. It is also a common occurrence in the ones who have existing respiratory problems and then get infected with Covid-19.
The risk factors: Children, middle-aged and older adults, smokers, and former smokers can suffer from pulmonary fibrosis due to a variety of different causes.
The treatment: After examining and investigating you, the doctor will decide about the line of treatment for you. You may be advised to take antibiotics, corticosteroid medications, antifibrotics or other medications to tackle your acute exacerbation.
Tips to prevent pulmonary fibrosis: Exercise on a daily basis to enhance your endurance, breathing techniques to improve lung health, and even nutritional counseling, and support are essential. You may be suggested to take vitamin supplements for the smooth functioning of your respiratory system, and improve immunity. Do not smoke and also avoid secondhand-smoking. Opt for fresh fruits, whole grains, and dairy products, in your daily diet. Take medications as per the doctor’s advice. Do not self-medicate or miss your follow-ups.