Fibrosis: Symptoms and Treatment
Fibrosis is a disease characterized by an accelerated process of collagen production and proliferation of connective tissues in any organs of the body due to inflammation. The disease leads to tissue tightening and the formation of scars in them. When the fibrosis of a particular organ develops, its functionality can deteriorate significantly. As a result, this disease leads to the development of all pathologies.
The most common case is fibrosis of the breast and liver, lungs and prostate. As a result of substitution of the cells of the body for the connective, the elasticity of the tissues decreases. In general, fibrosis is a specific reaction that tries to isolate the inflamed focus from healthy tissues.
Causes of appearance
The main causes of fibrotic changes are inflammatory processes and chronic diseases. Also, the disease occurs after receiving trauma, radiation exposure and allergic reactions, infections and the weakening of immunity.
Different organs can have definite causes of the development of the disease. For example, in the liver, this disease develops as a consequence:
- hereditary diseases
- immune system disorders;
- inflammation of the bile ducts
- viral and toxic hepatitis
- hypertension portal.
Pulmonary fibrosis develops as a result of such factors:
- inhalation of microparticles of dust for a long time;
- Chemotherapy procedures
- thoracic irradiation;
- granulomatous diseases
- long-term use of antibiotics
- Accommodation in ecologically polluted areas
Fibrosis in the prostate gland develops due to:
- hormonal disruption;
- irregular sexual life or lack of it
- chronic prostatitis;
- Atherosclerosis of vessels affecting the potency
Fibrous changes in the mammary gland are caused by fibrocystic mastopathy and hormonal imbalance. Fibrosis of the uterus develops with chronic endometrium. Age-related changes in the myocardium or infarction can lead to fibrosis of the heart. Scarring of connective tissue is a complication of diabetes mellitus, rheumatoid arthritis and obesity.
Types of disease
The classification of fibrosis is different for specific organs. In the liver, the type of disease depends on the location of scars in its lobules:
Fibrosis of the lungs can be local and diffuse. Fibrosis of the prostate gland is focal and with nodose hyperplasia, with the transformation of the cyst and atrophy of the parenchyma. Sometimes there is a congenital form.
Local and focal fibrosis is the initial degree of the disease, when isolated tissue sites are damaged. In case of a diffuse ailment, the lesion covers most of the organ. Cystic fibrosis is characterized by the defeat of the gland of external secretion, the ducts are clogged and cysts are formed. This leads to the development of violations in the respiratory organs and gastrointestinal tract.
Among the sensory organs, epiretinal fibrosis of the eye occurs, when changes occur in varying degrees in the structures of the vitreous and retina. Men can have cavernous fibrosis of the penis. In women, in some clinical situations, linear fibrosis of the breast can develop.
Symptomatic of the disease
The fibrosis develops slowly and at first no complaints arise in the patient. In rare cases, people feel health problems and go to a doctor for advice. There can be regular fatigue. Then there are violations in the work of organs, in some cases, the blood flow worsens.
With liver fibrosis, a general malaise is initially observed. After a light blow, bruises appear on the skin. The destruction of the liver lasts six to eight years, after which critical symptoms occur. Functioning of the liver deteriorates significantly, as the cells of the scar tissue expand and close. Further in size, the spleen increases. Other complications include varicose veins of the esophagus and bleeding from them. Then develops either anemia, thrombocytopenia or leukopenia.
At the first stage of development, clinical analyzes show that fibrotic changes in the liver are insignificant. The disease can be determined by the fact that spleen and portal pressure increased. Occult may sometimes occur and disappear. There is also a feeling of heaviness in the right hypochondrium and digestive problems. Sometimes there is itching and rashes on the skin.
Pulmonary fibrosis may be signaled by shortness of breath, which is intensified over time, accompanied by a dry cough. Then there are pains in the chest, rapid breathing. Cyanosis is noted on the skin. Frequent bronchitis and heart failure may indicate a progressive development of the disease.
In women during hormonal changes, focal fibrosis of the breast can develop. It can be felt by palpation only when the compaction reaches a size of 2-3 millimeters or more. Over the affected area, the skin will change color. Over time, there is discomfort in the chest, and then grow painful sensations. As the disease progresses, there may be clear or pale discharge from the nipple. There is a feeling of chest bursting and heaviness in it. Then the pain intensifies, becomes aching and permanent, giving into the armpit and shoulder.
The danger of uterine fibrosis is that the complication of it may be fibroids. Lower abdominal pain and prolonged menstruation, as well as discomfort during intercourse can signal the development of the disease.
Symptoms of pancreatic fibrosis are a decrease in appetite and weight loss, diarrhea and vomiting, pain in the hypochondrium on the left side and flatulence.
Fibrosis of the heart is characterized by changes in blood pressure and dyspnea, as well as a violation of the rhythm of the heart. Fibrosis of the aortic valve initially does not show any symptoms. Over time, there is pain in the heart and dizziness, and then the heart rate increases, dyspnea occurs and the patient may lose consciousness.
In men, pain syndrome in the perineum and in the lower abdomen, unpleasant sensations during intimacy and urination may indicate fibrosis of the prostate. Then there are problems with erection, and the libido goes down. Complications can be pyelonephritis, kidney failure and hydronephrosis.
Fibrous changes can occur in different parts of the eyes — in the lens, retina or vitreous. Symptoms are a decrease in the field of vision, a drop in its sharpness and painful sensations.
Diagnosis and treatment
The early stage of the defeat of any organ proceeds without obvious signs and complaints about the state of health. First of all, blood and urine tests are taken for diagnosis, and ultrasound should be performed. Still experts spend a biopsy — take on the analysis of the tissue of a particular organ with a special needle and examine it under a microscope. All other diagnostic procedures depend on the specific organ in which fibrosis is suspected.
When complaints about liver function, the patient should be examined by a gastroenterologist. He is obliged to appoint ultrasound and fibrotest, fibromax, fibroelastography. To detect pulmonary fibrosis, chest radiography should be performed. Still carry out magnetic resonance or computer tomography, spirography. With pains in the mammary gland, you need to do mammography, ultrasound, cytological and histological examination.
Very often for diagnostic purposes the «Metavir» scale is used. It helps to determine not only the degree of development of the disease, but also clinical indicators. On the scale are determined the degrees: F0, F1, F2, F3, F4.
Treatment of fibrosis is appointed by a specialist who has studied the patient’s medical history and got acquainted with the results of his examination. A doctor may prescribe one or more types of treatment:
- elimination of impacts. It is necessary to abandon bad habits and normalize the hormonal background;
- Treatment is conservative. In this case, methods are used to slow the development of pathology. One of these can be oxygen therapy;
- treatment with medications. To treat the disease effectively, the doctor prescribes medications that the patient must necessarily take on the regimen. Over time, the pain decreases, and the symptoms of the ailment disappear
- Surgical intervention. The operation is necessary if the situation is critical and excision of the affected tissues is required.
Treatment of fibrosis depends on the affected organ and variety of the disease. Often a course of treatment is required at the hospital. You need a healthy diet and the optimal amount of exercise, avoid stress and perform respiratory gymnastics. In addition, you need to take anti-inflammatory and antibacterial drugs. Vitaminotherapy and physiotherapy are recommended.
In general, the treatment plan looks like this:
- treatment of the underlying ailment
- slowing the production of cicatricial cells — inhibition of the development of the disease
- reduction of the inflammation focus;
- destruction of seals and scar tissue
Once the characteristic symptoms appear, you need to go to a medical facility for diagnosis and examination of the body. Qualified specialists will conduct numerous studies, put an accurate diagnosis, establish the causes of the disease and prescribe a comprehensive treatment. Fibrosis is a disease that should not be treated with folk medicine. It is better to trust professionals — people with education and experience. It is absolutely necessary to comply with all prescriptions of doctors and be adjusted to a successful early cure, and then to prevent fibrosis.