Pulmonary fibrosis (PF) is a respiratory disease that causes the lung tissue to become thick and stiff. Over time, it turns into scar tissue, which is known as fibrosis. Due to the disease, the lungs lose their ability to properly function, making it hard for the organs to transport oxygen into the bloodstream, causing a number of symptoms.
1. Is there any way I can prevent developing pulmonary fibrosis?:
There are currently no established methods to prevent pulmonary fibrosis, particularly since in most cases the cause of the disease cannot be identified. The best way to prevent pulmonary fibrosis is, therefore, to avoid potential risks and to undergo regular medical examinations.
2. Which factors can impact on preventing pulmonary fibrosis?:
One of the most common and avoidable risk factors for IPF is smoking, and everyone should quit smoking to avoid not only pulmonary fibrosis but also many other respiratory diseases. In the case of people who work in contact with toxins and pollutants such as silica dust, asbestos fibers, grain dust, and bird and animal droppings, it is important to reduce exposure by using a mask and ensure the regulations regarding these materials are being followed.
3. Which other risk factors should I be aware of?:
Age and genetics are also risk factors, in these cases patients and physicians should be particularly attentive through regular diagnosis examinations. Patients who have family members who suffer or have suffered from pulmonary fibrosis can undergo genetic tests. In the case of unavoidable factors, the only option is watchful waiting.
4. Which factors can be considered unavoidable factors to the development of pulmonary fibrosis?:
Some of the unavoidable factors can include viral infections, radiation therapy, the use of chemotherapy drugs such as methotrexate (Trexall) and cyclophosphamide (Cytoxan), heart medication including amiodarone (Cordarone, Nexterone, Pacerone) and propranolol (Inderal, Innopran), or antibiotics such as nitrofurantoin (Macrobid, Macrodantin, others) and sulfasalazine (Azulfidine), as well as suffering from diseases able to cause pulmonary fibrosis including tuberculosis, pneumonia, systemic lupus erythematosus, gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD), rheumatoid arthritis, sarcoidosis and scleroderma.
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