Pulmonary fibrosis (PF) is the name given to a group of more than 200 lung diseases that cause scarring in the lungs. The condition is sometimes found in children, but is more common among middle-aged and older adults. Because PF risks rise with age, family caregivers to senior parents who know about PF and its symptoms can seek medical care for their parents when symptoms first appear.
What is Pulmonary Fibrosis?
PF is a term that means there is scarring in a person’s lungs. However, the condition is actually much more serious than simply having scarred lungs. When a person has PF, scar tissue forms on the walls of the air sacs in the lungs. The lung tissue becomes stiff and thick, making it less effective at moving air in and out of the lungs. Eventually, the person with PF experiences shortness of breath that gets worse and worse as time goes on.
What Are the Causes?
Sometimes doctors are unable to figure out the cause of PF. In cases where the cause is undetermined, the person is diagnosed with idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis. Other times, the cause is evident. Possible things that can cause PF are:
- Being exposed to certain pollutants or toxins for a lengthy period of time, such as due to an occupation.
- Radiation treatment for lung or breast cancer.
- Certain medications, such as heart medications, chemotherapy drugs, anti-inflammatory medications, and some antibiotics.
- Medical conditions that can cause lung damage, like sarcoidosis, scleroderma, and pneumonia.
What Are the Symptoms?
When PF begins, there may be no symptoms at all. However, as an increasing amount of scar tissue forms, the most common symptoms are a cough and feeling short of breath. The shortness of breath might be present only when a person is physically active at first, but eventually the person may experience breathlessness even when they are at rest. Other symptoms of PF include:
- Reduced appetite.
- Weight loss.
- An uncomfortable feeling in the chest.
If your parent is diagnosed with PF, hiring a home care provider can make living at home easier and safer for them. Home care providers can visit your parent at their home for just a few hours a day or longer, depending on your parent’s needs. Home care providers can help you to monitor your parent’s symptoms and can alert you if they notice a change. They can also help your parent with tasks around the house that can be difficult when they are feeling short of breath, such as house cleaning and laundry.
If you or an aging loved one are considering home care services in Wilmette, IL, please call the caring staff at A-Abiding Care today. Serving North and Northwest Chicago and the surrounding area for over 30 years. Call 847-698-1400.