Weight loss is one of a series of reported symptoms in Pulmonary Fibrosis (PF). According to a range of health resources, weight loss in PF is described as being gradual, unintended, and inexplicable in patients with the disease.1234
In the early stages of the disease, patients usually don’t have problems maintaining their normal weight. As pulmonary fibrosis progresses, however, patients tend to start losing weight. Several factors contribute to this, such as loss of or decreased appetite related to medications that cause nausea; persistent cough and cough medications that cause dry mouth, nausea or drowsiness; and depression, which is common among patients with chronic diseases.5
In rare cases, patients with pulmonary fibrosis develop fluid retention and hepatic congestion, which is related to right heart failure and cause an accumulation of fluid in the liver that results in feeling full after eating only a small amount of food.
How is Weight Loss Treated in Pulmonary Fibrosis?
As is the case with other symptoms in Pulmonary Fibrosis, weight loss is often observed as a secondary symptom or side effect to experiencing fast, shallow breathing and other breathing alternations as a result of the disease. Scarring in the lungs leads to lower levels of oxygen in the blood, which can cause poor sleep patterns and fatigue, making preparing food and eating more difficult, as well as lowering appetite.5
In order to address weight loss, physicians will often seek to treat oxygen levels in the blood through oxygen therapy, as well as address the fibrosis in the lungs through medication.
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