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Fibrosis

What Is Fibrosis

Fibrosis is generally a term used to refer to scarring of the lungs.

There are a number of condition’s which have very similar symptoms and causes, these are as follows:-

  • Pleural fibrosis
  • Pulmonary fibrosis / Idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis (I.P.F) usual interstitial pneumonitis (U.I.P) and cryptogenic fibrosing alveolitis (C.F.A). U.I.P, I,P,F and C.F.A are all fibrosis of unknown cause. In other words, medical experts do not know why they occur.
  • Asbestosis

Pleural fibrosis

Pleural fibrosis is the name of the condition in which a person will develop fibrous tissue in the pleura (the lining in the chest cavity around the lungs). In normal conditions the pleura is a very flexible mucus membrane, but when pleural fibrosis occurs, the pleura thickens and stiffens, pleural fibrosis is usually benign but complications can occur if the pleural fibrosis becomes widespread, when for example breathlessness and ‘strangulation’ of the lungs occur.

Pleural fibrosis is often related to exposure to asbestos, as has been confirmed by pathologists who have carried out clinical examinations on lung tissue and which has demonstrated the presence of asbestos fibres and bodies within the tissue.

Pleural fibrosis usually develops around fifteen years after a short period of heavy exposure to asbestos but can be cumulative, in other words shorter exposure over a longer period of time. Pleural fibrosis can also be caused by inflammatory process, pneumonia, surgical trauma or pleural effusions. Persons with a severe form of pleural fibrosis tend to seek medical attention as they develop difficulties breathing.

Pulmonary fibrosis

Pulmonary fibrosis is the formation or development of excess fibrous connective tissue (fibrosis) in the lungs. It is described as scarring of the lung. Pulmonary fibrosis may be a secondary effect of other diseases. Most of these are classified as interstitial lung diseases.

Pulmonary fibrosis as with pleural fibrosis can also appear without any known cause. In this case, it is termed as ‘idiopathic’.

There are a number of factors which may cause pulmonary fibrosis as a secondary effect for example:-

Inhalation of environmental and occupational pollutants such as asbestos, silicosis and exposure to certain gases.

  • Cigarette smoking
  • Rheumatoid arthritis
  • Infections
  • Certain medications

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