Fibrotic alveolitis: symptoms and treatment
Fibrotic alveolitis is a disease that affects the lung tissue, characterized by the development of the inflammatory process. As a result, fibrosis develops — a healthy pulmonary tissue is replaced by a connective tissue, which can trigger the development of respiratory failure (DV). If the treatment is not performed in a timely manner, a fatal outcome is possible. This disease occurs rarely and is not amenable to drug therapy.
Most often, the disease affects people over 50 years old. Mostly it affects men. At the heart of the progression of the disease is an autoimmune reaction. If it develops, then the development of antibodies against the cells of the human body begins.
In the progression of the disease, a certain role is played by viruses, in particular the hepatitis C virus and adenoviruses. Risk factors can also include some professions. There are cases when fibrosing alveolitis developed after a long exposure to the body of chemical aerosols, dust.
Clinicians distinguish 3 nosological forms of this ailment:
- idiopathic fibrosing alveolitis
- exogenous allergic alveolitis
- toxic fibrosing alveolitis
Idiopathic fibrosing alveolitis is a malaise of an unknown genesis that affects pulmonary tissue and is accompanied by an increasing ND. This ailment is of several morphological forms:
- conventional interstitial pneumonia (PI)
- Nonspecific PI
- obliterating alveolitis, which develops in tandem with interstitial lung disease;
- acute IP.
Idiopathic fibrosing alveolitis is difficult to treat, as it is difficult for clinicians to establish the true cause of its progression. This type of ailment should be treated only in a hospital environment, since the risk of developing severe complications is high.
Exogenous allergic alveolitis is a group of ailments that develop as a result of prolonged exposure to the human body of dust that contains animal or vegetable protein compounds.
Toxic fibrosing alveolitis develops due to prolonged exposure to mild toxic substances, as well as some synthetic medications.
- acute stage. At this stage of pathology development, the cells of the alveolar epithelium, as well as the capillaries, are damaged. As a consequence, the patient develops an intra-alveolar and interstitial edema followed by the formation of hyaline membranes
- chronic stage. The pathological process progresses gradually. Gradually affects all the lungs and begins to be deposited collagen. This condition is called a common fibrosis. Alveolar spaces are alternately torn apart
- terminal stage. The lung tissue becomes like a honeycomb. Fibrous tissue replaces healthy organ tissues, and extensive cavities are formed.
Fibrotic alveolitis has the following symptoms:
- a persistent cough that causes severe discomfort to the patient
- the patient’s body weight is reduced
- As the disease progresses, dyspnea develops, which prevents a person from even speaking normally;
- In some cases, sputum may spill abundantly during cough
- the patient feels weakness in the whole body, weakness
- pains in the muscles and joints gradually appear during physical exertion, and also at rest
- The nail plates can be gradually deformed. Their shape will resemble drum sticks;
- peripheral edema;
- cervical veins swelling
It is important to diagnose the disease as soon as possible and begin to conduct adequate treatment. In the early stages of the disease can be cured almost completely. It is important to know, there are no such means that could turn fibrous tissue back to alveolar and healthy.
If a person has the first signs of fibrosing alveolitis, he should immediately go to a medical facility to undergo an examination and take the necessary tests that can confirm if the body has this ailment. For the diagnosis of pathology, the following methods are used:
- X-ray examination. It makes it possible to detect signs of ailment. The picture will clearly show cystic enlightenment. As a rule, the place of their localization is the lower part of the lungs
- CT of the lungs. The most informative method. It makes it possible to detect changes in the pulmonary tissue before the first symptoms appear and the person goes to the hospital for diagnosis and treatment
- Examination of external respiration function
- bronchoalveolar lavage
Progression of the disease can be stopped using anti-inflammatory and antifibrotic synthetic medical devices. Also in therapy use and immunodepressants. Drug treatment is effective only if it is used in the early stages of development of pathology.
Non-drug treatment includes rehabilitation programs that are aimed at strengthening the patient’s physical and psychological health. They include physical training, as well as psychological support. To reduce cough and shortness of breath, doctors often prescribe oxygen therapy. It is particularly effective in the early stages of the progression of the disease.
Completely eliminate the fibrosing alveolitis can only be done if you perform a lung transplant. This method of treatment is very effective, but expensive. Life expectancy of the patient after the spent surgical intervention increases.
Some patients try to treat the ailment at home with the help of folk remedies. But in this case they are not effective. On the contrary. Inadequate and incorrect use of them can only exacerbate the patient’s condition.
Idiopathic fibrosing alveolitis through intensive and proper treatment can be temporarily suspended, but there is absolutely no way to cure it completely. He will slowly progress. On average, people with fibrosing alveolitis live for about three or four years.
Allergic and toxic alveolitis in the early stages of development can be cured. It is simply necessary to eliminate the cause that triggered their development, and to conduct competent and comprehensive treatment. The patient is recommended to stay in hospital during therapy so that doctors can monitor his condition.