Word on Health

Word on Pulmonary Fibrosis

Our grateful thanks to the patient led charity, Action for Pulmonary Fibrosis for their contribution to our radio report (available via the audio player at the bottom of this page) and for the information below, derived from their website, which you can reach via this link to find out more.

Pulmonary fibrosis (lung scarring) describes a group of interstitial lung diseases (over 200) that affects around 70,000 people in the UK.

Pulmonary fibrosis occurs when collagen (scar tissue, often known as ‘fibrosis’) accumulates within the delicate gas-exchanging air sacs (alveoli) of the lungs. As the amount of scar tissue increases, the lungs become smaller and stiffer which eventually leads to ilow oxygen levels in the blood.

Symptoms may include:

  • shortness of breath, which may occur with exercise initially but it worsens over time
  • a persistent cough (sometimes the cough can be productive of sticky sputum)
  • rounded and swollen finger tips (finger clubbing)
  • crackles over your lungs (heard by your doctor using a stethoscope)
  • breathlessness -  can be an early or late PF symptom. - in the early stages of PF breathless may occur during exercise. As the disease progresses, breathlessness becomes more noticeable with every day tasks such as walking, washing, dressing, talking and eating
  • fatigue 
  • unintentional weight loss
  • Rounded and swollen finger tips‍

If the pulmonary fibrosis is related to an autoimmune disease, such as rheumatoid arthritis or scleroderma (systemic sclerosis), you may also experience symptoms of that condition  – for example, problems with joints, skin, or muscles.

Causes Some types of pulmonary fibrosis have an identifiable cause. But for many types, a definite cause cannot be found. 

To find out more about pulmonary fibrosis click here to visit the Action for Pulmonary Fibrosis website.

The Asthma + Lung UK charity also has information and resources  you can reach via this link.


Listen to this weeks radio report

All material on this website is provided for your information only and may not be construed as medical advice or instruction. No action or inaction should be taken based solely on the contents of this information; instead, readers should consult appropriate health professionals on any matter relating to their health and well-being.