Fibrosis of the lungs: symptoms and treatment
Fibrosis of the lungs is a disease that involves the presence of tissue in the lungs of the scar tissue, which disrupts the function of breathing. Fibrosis lowers the elasticity of the tissues, which makes the passage of oxygen through the alveoli (bubbles where the air contacts the blood) more difficult. Such a disease involves the replacement of normal lung tissue with connective tissue. The reverse process of regeneration of the connective tissue again into the pulmonary is not possible, so the patient can not completely recover, however, it is still possible to improve the patient’s quality of life.
Causes of disease occurrence
Fibrous changes appear for the following reasons:
- the presence of long-lasting infectious diseases
- the presence of an allergy
- the effects of radiation on human organs
- diseases of the granulomatous type
- prolonged inhalation of dust.
The local type of a disease that affects a certain area can develop asymptomatically, and in severe stages both local and diffuse fibrosis of the roots of the lungs and other parts will necessarily make itself felt by such bright symptoms:
- Shortness of breath. At the initial stage of diffuse fibrosis, it appears only after physical exertion, but later begins to pursue the patient even at rest;
- the presence of a cough. First, the cough can be dry, but after a while it will become accompanied by sputum secretion
- pain in the chest area
- wheezing in the lungs
- increased sweating
- Cyanosis (most often — on the mucous tissue of the mouth and fingers).
Apical pulmonary pneumofibrosis can cause:
- deformation of the fingers (thickening of the nail and the fingers themselves)
- increased dyspnea
- heart palpitations
- the presence of a large number of edema on the legs
- swelling of the veins around the neck
- the presence of pain in the chest area
- weakness and inability to exercise.
These symptoms usually appear at later stages of the development of the pathological process.
Diseases to which fibrosis is associated
The severe type of ailment that promotes the transformation of ordinary pulmonary tissue into a connective tissue can develop against the background:
- The alveolitis, the symptom of which is respiratory failure. Is a precursor of the disease;
- asbestosis (a disease that occurs due to frequent exposure to dust from asbestos)
- Mycosis of the lungs (fungal tissue damage in patients with weak immunity)
- Diabetes mellitus
- pulmonary trauma
- Tuberculosis in the lungs (an infectious disease that develops due to exposure to mild mycobacteria)
Patients often develop basal fibrosis. The «basis» for its progression in most clinical situations is chronic bronchitis. In the early stages of the disease occurs almost asymptomatically, but as the disease progresses, the symptoms become more pronounced. The connective tissue proliferates, which leads to a disruption in the functioning of the lungs. It is important to diagnose the disease in time and start treating it, so that no more severe complications arise.
Forms of the disease
Fibrosis of the lungs can be:
- one-way (hits one easy);
- Double-sided (affects both lungs).
The disease is also divided into:
- focal fibrosis (small lesion)
- total fibrosis (lung damage completely).
Depending on the severity of development, the ailment is divided into:
- pneumofibrosis of the lungs. It is a proliferation of connective tissue that alternates with areas of the lung tissue
- Cirrhosis. It is a complete replacement of tissues, which causes problems in the functioning of pulmonary vessels and deformation of the bronchi;
- sclerosis. It is expressed in complete replacement of pulmonary connective tissue, which causes organ densities.
According to the reason for the appearance, these types of illness are distinguished:
- dust fibroses, which usually occur in representatives of certain professions, who are forced to contact dust (silicosis, asbestosis)
- Focal fibrosis, which occurs in connective tissue diseases (lupus, rheumatoid arthritis)
- after a previous infection
- idiopathic fibrosis of the lungs. This type of disease occurs without any apparent reason.
Causes of the disease
Among the main factors that contribute to the development of tissue transformation, distinguish:
- the impact of factors of production (patient’s inhalation of flour, shavings, sand, cement dust and other small substances)
- vasculitis (an inflammatory process that affects the blood vessels)
- Tuberculosis or pneumonia. After these diseases fibro-cavernous pulmonary tuberculosis can develop. This is a dangerous pathology, in which the pulmonary tissue is largely affected. It is important to diagnose and start treating fibrous-cavernous pulmonary tuberculosis in a timely manner, since severe complications that are dangerous not only for health but also for the life of the patient can develop without adequate treatment.
You can begin to treat the disease only after a thorough diagnosis. For this purpose, doctors use both laboratory and instrumental methods of examination, which make it possible to determine the localization of the disease, the vastness of the lesion, etc.
The most effective method of diagnosis is the appointment of radiography. It helps to identify pathologies in the radical and other areas. Also, in order to detect fibrotic changes in the lungs, CT of the lungs is used (computed tomography). In addition, the doctor will prescribe a patient angiopulmonogram, which will show whether there are changes in the blood vessels (narrowing or widening of the branches of the vessels).
Fibrous-cavernous pulmonary fibrosis can also be detected with bronchoscopy or breathing function analysis. As a result of the analysis, you can determine the respiratory rate, inspiratory volume and air conduction in the bronchi.
How to treat the disease
Treatment of pulmonary fibrosis should be based on:
- exclude the influence of harmful substances for the light components (dust)
- Oxygen therapy. In this case, the patient must wear a mask, which is accessed by oxygen;
- the use of broad-spectrum drugs
- surgical intervention (removal of the fibrosed area of the lungs)
In addition, sometimes using folk remedies to combat the disease. Doctors do not officially recognize folk therapy, but in some cases they are allowed to use the means approved by them. For example, help to make up the amount of oxygen will help tincture of goritsvet with the addition of fennel and cumin fruit. This folk remedy should be insisted, strained and drunk 3 times a day.
Also, the treatment of pulmonary fibrosis is carried out with the help of special exercises. The respiratory gymnastics helps to cure the ailment. It is aimed at partial or complete resumption of the work of the body.
Prevention of disease
To avoid having to treat this serious illness, doctors recommend following such preventive measures:
- Avoid stress;
- stop smoking;
- observe safety precautions when operating;
- periodically undergo a physical examination.