Pulmonary Fibrosis

Board Certified Pulmonologists & Board Certified Sleep Medicine Physicians located in Joliet and New Lenox, IL

Pulmonary Fibrosis

About Pulmonary Fibrosis

Pulmonary fibrosis is thickened scar tissue that grows in your lungs, affecting breathing and oxygen supply. If you experience pulmonary fibrosis symptoms, visit Midwest Respiratory, Ltd. in Joliet or New Lenox, Illinois. The highly experienced pulmonologists use cutting-edge diagnostic technologies combined with years of experience to identify pulmonary fibrosis. Call your nearest Midwest Respiratory, Ltd. office or request a consultation online today to receive exceptional treatment for pulmonary fibrosis.

Pulmonary Fibrosis Q & A

What is pulmonary fibrosis?

Fibrosis is thickening or scarring affecting your body’s soft tissues. With pulmonary fibrosis, the air sacs in your lungs, which are usually thin and delicate, become thicker, stiffer, and scarred.

Pulmonary fibrosis is one of the primary interstitial lung diseases. These conditions result from a lung injury, triggering an abnormal healing response.

What symptoms does pulmonary fibrosis cause?

Pulmonary fibrosis affects lung function, making it harder to breathe. Other symptoms include:

  • Dyspnea (shortness of breath)
  • Dry cough
  • Chronic fatigue
  • Aching muscles and joints
  • Unexplained weight loss
  • Clubbing (finger or toe tips widening and rounding)

Symptom severity varies between patients. Some have moderate problems that take months or years to worsen, while others have severe disease that rapidly makes them very sick.

What causes pulmonary fibrosis?

Pulmonary fibrosis can develop for many reasons. Common ones include:

Occupation and environment

Long-term toxin and pollutant exposure can damage your lungs, triggering pulmonary fibrosis. Substances to avoid include:

  • Asbestos fibers
  • Hard metal dusts
  • Silica dust
  • Bird and animal droppings
  • Coal dust
  • Grain dust

If your work exposes you to these pulmonary fibrosis triggers, you should wear appropriate protective and breathing apparatus.

Radiation therapy

Radiation therapy for lung and breast cancers can sometimes result in lung damage that doesn’t cause problems for months or even years after the treatment.


Drugs that can damage your lungs include chemotherapy medicines for cancer, like methotrexate and cyclophosphamide, and antiarrhythmia medicines, like amiodarone. Antibiotics like nitrofurantoin and ethambutol and anti-inflammatories like rituximab and sulfasalazine can sometimes trigger pulmonary fibrosis.

Medical conditions

Disorders that can cause lung damage include:

  • Sarcoidosis
  • Scleroderma
  • Pneumonia
  • Dermatomyositis
  • Polymyositis
  • Mixed connective tissue disease
  • Systemic lupus erythematosus
  • Rheumatoid arthritis

Very often, people have idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis, where the cause remains unclear. This is often the most severe kind.

You might need a biopsy to diagnose pulmonary fibrosis. Your provider extracts a tissue sample from your lungs with a bronchoscope and sends it for lab analysis. Midwest Respiratory, Ltd. uses cutting-edge technologies like ION navigational bronchoscopy with cryogenic techniques  to perform biopsies.

What treatment does pulmonary fibrosis require?

Pulmonary fibrosis lung scarring is irreversible, and no current treatments stop the disease from progressing. However, Midwest Respiratory, Ltd. offers therapies that can improve symptoms, slow disease progression temporarily, and help improve quality of life. Options include:

  • Anti-scarring medications
  • Oxygen therapy
  • Pulmonary rehabilitation

Pulmonary rehab combines physical therapy, breathing techniques, nutritional counseling, education, and talk therapy.

Call Midwest Respiratory, Ltd. to learn more about pulmonary fibrosis treatment, or book an appointment online today.