There is currently no cure for pulmonary fibrosis and patients often face a prognosis of three to five years after diagnosis. However, medication and other treatment options can help improve patients’ quality of life. But as the disease evolves, there are some complications that may arise. Discover six possible pulmonary fibrosis complications with this list we’ve put together (source: Mayo Clinic website):
- High blood pressure in your lungs: Unlike normal and usual high blood pressure, this condition is different because it only affects the arteries in your lungs. It begins when the smallest arteries and capillaries are compressed by scar tissue, causing increased resistance to blood flow in your lungs. This creates pressure within the pulmonary arteries and the right ventricle and can result in the development of pulmonary hypertension.
- Blood clots: The immobility and sluggish blood flow can increase the risk of developing blood clots.
- Right-sided heart failure: This can occur when the lower right ventricle of your heart has to pump harder than usual to move blood through partially blocked pulmonary arteries.
- Respiratory failure: When you’re suffering from a chronic lung disease, respiratory failure can be a serious and devastating reality. Although it often occurs in the latter stages of the disease, respiratory failure happens when blood oxygen levels fall dangerously low. Because your lungs are so stiff, due to the scarring of the tissue, breathing gets harder which results in stress, fatigue and sometimes a loss of appetite.
- Lung cancer: Chronic lung diseases like pulmonary hypertension and pulmonary fibrosis can increase the risk of suffering from other lung diseases in the future, for example, lung cancer.
- Depression: Depression can develop while suffering from pulmonary fibrosis. Since this is a critical and frightening disease, it’s quite normal for many patients to suffer from depression.
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