Introduction to Pulmonary Fibrosis

Learn what you need to know about pulmonary fibrosis and idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis, including information about PF types and risk factors, symptoms and diagnosis.

What Is Pulmonary Fibrosis?

Pulmonary fibrosis is a disease where there is scarring of the lungs—called fibrosis—which makes it difficult to breathe. This is because the scarring causes the tissues in the lungs to get thick and stiff and makes it hard to absorb oxygen into the bloodstream. 

Key Points

  • Pulmonary fibrosis is an interstitial lung disease. Interstitial lung diseases are a group of conditions that cause inflammation and scarring around the tiny air sacs (alveoli) in the lungs.
  • Inhaling hazardous chemicals can be one cause of pulmonary fibrosis. PF can also be caused by certain diseases, medication and genetics. Most often the cause is unknown. This is called idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis (IPF).

Types & Causes of Pulmonary Fibrosis

There are many different types of pulmonary fibrosis. The most common is idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis, or IPF. This type of pulmonary fibrosis has no known cause. But there are other factors that can cause or increase your risk.
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Symptoms of Pulmonary Fibrosis

Shortness of breath and dry cough are the primary symptoms of pulmonary fibrosis.
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How Is Pulmonary Fibrosis Diagnosed?

Pulmonary fibrosis can be difficult to diagnose, so it is important to see a specialist to get an expert opinion. See the different tools your doctor will use to determine if you have pulmonary fibrosis.
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Page last updated: November 17, 2022

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