Why Choose Cedars-Sinai Marina del Rey Hospital for Pulmonary Fibrosis Treatment?
If you struggle with pulmonary fibrosis, our experienced medical professionals will design a personalized treatment plan for you, which is bound to improve your quality of life to a great extent. Since 1969, we have been providing the community of Los Angeles with quality healthcare services. Choosing Cedars-Sinai Marina del Rey Hospital for pulmonary fibrosis treatment means that you will receive the healthcare you need in a warm and compassionate environment, as we highly value the comfort and well-being of our patients.
Pulmonary fibrosis occurs when there is severe damage and scarring in the lungs. As a result, the tissue of the lungs becomes thick and stiff. This condition prevents patients from breathing properly and reduces the amount of oxygen they receive.
As pulmonary fibrosis progresses, you will experience more and more shortness of breath. In most cases, physicians cannot determine the exact cause of pulmonary fibrosis, but medical researchers have identified a string of risk factors for this condition.
Unfortunately, the damage and scarring that occur with pulmonary fibrosis are irreversible. The purpose of treatment is to alleviate the patient's symptoms and improve their quality of life. While the cause of the condition is unknown, between 30,000 and 40,000 people in the United States receive a diagnosis of pulmonary fibrosis every year.
Because pulmonary fibrosis has no cure, the goal of the treatment is to alleviate the symptoms of the patient, prevent any further damage to the lungs, and improve their quality of life. The following are the most effective treatment approaches for pulmonary fibrosis:
- nintedanib and pirfenidone: at the moment, these are the two drugs approved in the United States for treating idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis and are anti-fibrotic agents, which means that they slow down the rate at which scarring of the lungs develops in people with pulmonary fibrosis
- steroids: also known as glucocorticoids, these drugs reduce the inflammation that is associated with pulmonary fibrosis but can cause serious side effects, which is why you should always talk to your doctor first before taking them
- anti-acid medications: because numerous people with pulmonary fibrosis also struggle with gastroesophageal reflux disease, they may be prescribed anti-acid medications to alleviate their symptoms
- cough medication: there are multiple medications used to treat the cough that people with pulmonary fibrosis experience, such as over the counter drugs like Robitusson, cough drops, prescription drugs like hydrocodone and benzonatate, Thalidomide, and other drugs that you may want to try in clinical trials
- oxygen therapy: since people with pulmonary fibrosis have a low oxygen intake, oxygen therapy will relieve their shortness of breath and will also help them stay active
- pulmonary rehabilitation: this is a program that teaches you about your pulmonary fibrosis, how to exercise so that your symptoms will not worsen, how to manage your symptoms, and how to get the support and counseling you need to improve your quality of life
- lung transplant: for people with severe pulmonary fibrosis, a lung transplant may be necessary, as their lungs are damaged beyond repair, and they can no longer survive without properly functioning lungs
Depending on the source, there are six types of pulmonary fibrosis:
- drug-induced: it occurs after the use of amiodarone, nitrofurantoin, chemotherapy, methotrexate, or other drugs that affect the lungs
- radiation-induced: if you received radiotherapy to the chest area as part of cancer treatment, you could develop pulmonary fibrosis
- environmental: also known as hypersensitivity pneumonitis, this type of pulmonary fibrosis occurs after exposure to mold, animals, or other triggers
- autoimmune: this type of pulmonary fibrosis is also known as connective tissue disease-related and entails struggling with autoimmune diseases that cause joint inflammation, skin changes, and dry eyes or mouth, which can subsequently lead to pulmonary fibrosis
- occupational: also known as pneumoconiosis, this type of pulmonary fibrosis develops after exposure to toxic occupational agents such as dust, fibers, fumes, or vapors like asbestos, coal, and silica
- idiopathic: when no cause can be found, pulmonary fibrosis is diagnosed as idiopathic
Symptoms of Pulmonary Fibrosis
The most frequent symptoms of pulmonary fibrosis are the following:
Diagnosis of Pulmonary Fibrosis
The first step in the diagnostic process of pulmonary fibrosis entails your doctor reviewing your medical and family history and asking you questions about the symptoms you are experiencing. You should tell your physician everything abnormal you have noticed with your body so that they can form a clear idea about whether you may be struggling with pulmonary fibrosis or another lung disease.
If they suspect pulmonary fibrosis, they will order some of the following tests and exams:
- chest X-rays: this test uses radiation and will provide your doctor with images of the inside of your chest, allowing them to assess the appearance of your lungs thoroughly and to see whether there is tissue scarring
- CT scan: a CT scan uses a computer to combine X-ray images taken from various angles to create cross-sectional images of internal structures in the body and will offer your physician detailed and clear images of your lungs, which will help them determine whether there is tissue scarring and damage in the organs
- echocardiogram: this test operates sound waves to visualize the heart and is performed so that your doctor can assess the amount of pressure occurring in the right side of your heart
- pulmonary function tests: spirometry is one of the most useful pulmonary function tests, as it measures the quantity of air your lungs can hold and how quickly you can move air in and out of your lungs after you exhale forcefully and rapidly through a tube connected to a machine
- pulse oximetry: during this test, a device will be placed on one of your fingers to measure the oxygen saturation in your blood
- exercise stress test: you will be required to use a treadmill or stationary bike to monitor your lung function when you are physically active
- arterial blood gas test: after a nurse collects a sample of blood from one of the arteries in your wrist, the levels of oxygen and carbon dioxide will be measured from it
- biopsy: a biopsy can be either a bronchoscopy or a surgical biopsy, with the former being minimally invasive and the latter involving a traditional approach, and entails a surgeon removing a sample of tissue from your lungs to examine it for scarring and other signs of damage
- blood tests: blood tests may be ordered to evaluate your kidney and liver function, as well as to rule out any other similar lung condition
While idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis has no known cause, there are numerous causes for the other types of this condition, the most common being the following:
- occupational and environmental factors: prolonged or frequent exposure to harmful agents, either on the job or from the atmosphere, such as silica dust, asbestos, hard metal dust, coal dust, grain dust, and bird and animal droppings, can lead to the development of pulmonary fibrosis
- radiation: if you underwent radiotherapy for breast or lung cancer, your chances of coming to struggle with pulmonary fibrosis are greater
- medication: certain drugs are associated with a higher risk of developing pulmonary fibrosis, such as chemotherapy drugs, heart medications, some antibiotics, and anti-inflammatory drugs
- health problems: pulmonary fibrosis can also be the result of the patient suffering from other health problems, such as dermatomyositis, polymyositis, mixed connective tissue disease, lupus, rheumatoid arthritis, sarcoidosis, scleroderma, and pneumonia
- tobacco smoking: because tobacco smoke contains over 7,000 chemicals and is very irritating to the lungs, it can trigger the onset of pulmonary fibrosis at some point during your lifetime
- genetic factors: some types of pulmonary fibrosis run in families and, in this case, not much can be done to prevent the disease
While you must always take the treatment prescribed to you by your doctor if you struggle with pulmonary fibrosis, you may want to try alternative treatments for your condition, which may help alleviate your symptoms. However, we advise you to always talk to your physician first before trying the following natural remedies:
- cod liver oil: this dietary supplement contains fatty acids and vitamin D, which can improve the functioning of your lungs and decrease their inflammation
- baking soda: mixing a tablespoon of baking soda with water and drinking the combination before every meal may relieve the symptoms of pulmonary fibrosis, as baking soda treats acidity by making the body alkaline and is also helpful in eliminating toxins from your body
- colloidal silver: colloidal silver can eliminate viruses and fungi present in your lungs and can thereby be very useful if you have pulmonary fibrosis
- citrus fruits: these fruits are rich in vitamin C, which stimulates the production of white blood cells, which in turn help reduce the inflammation in your lungs caused by pulmonary fibrosis
- green leafy vegetables: vegetables such as kale, spinach, and turnip greens are another vital source of vitamin C and can therefore reduce the inflammation caused by pulmonary fibrosis
If pulmonary fibrosis runs in your family, you cannot do much to prevent it. Nevertheless, if you avoid certain factors that increase the risk of developing it, you can prevent the onset of pulmonary fibrosis. Therefore, by avoiding the following risk factors, you are less likely to receive a diagnosis of pulmonary fibrosis: