Pulmonary fibrosis is a serious condition that affects the lungs. It affects approximately 200,000 older adults in the United States. It affects a person’s ability to breathe freely and can cause complications, including an increased risk of lung cancer. If you have an older adult family member with pulmonary fibrosis, knowing more about the condition can help you to be a more effective caregiver.
Pulmonary Fibrosis Basics.
Pulmonary fibrosis is a condition in which the lungs are damaged, causing scar tissue to build up in them. As a result, the lungs become stiff and thick, making them work less efficiently. As the disease gets worse, it gets harder and harder for the older adult to breathe.
Unfortunately, the disease isn’t curable and the damage to the lungs cannot be reversed. However, there are some treatments, such as medication, that can improve the symptoms. In some cases, doctors may recommend a lung transplant.
Causes of Pulmonary Fibrosis.
There are many things that can lead to pulmonary fibrosis, but doctors aren’t always able to determine the cause. When the cause is unknown, the condition is called idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis.
Some possible causes of pulmonary fibrosis are:
· Toxins: People who were exposed to certain toxins over an extended period of time may develop the condition. Some of the toxins that can cause the disease are silica dust, asbestos, coal dust, grain dust, and bird or other animal feces.
· Radiation: Receiving radiation treatment for conditions like breast or lung cancer can damage tissue in the lungs.
· Medications: Some medications can harm the lungs, such as chemotherapy drugs, some heart medicines, and even certain antibiotics.
· Medical Conditions: Certain medical conditions can lead to pulmonary fibrosis, including sarcoidosis, rheumatoid arthritis, and others.
Pulmonary Fibrosis Symptoms.
The way people are affected by pulmonary fibrosis varies widely. Some people get ill slowly over time. Others get sick very quickly. The symptoms of pulmonary fibrosis include:
- · Feeling short of breath.
- · Fatigue.
- · Dry cough.
- · Weight loss.
- · Pain in the muscles and joints.
- · Clubbing, or widening, of the tips of the fingers or toes.
If your aging relative suffers from pulmonary fibrosis, elder care can help them to manage the condition. Elder care providers can allow seniors to rest and avoid overexerting themselves by handling household tasks, such as cleaning. Elder care providers can also assist the older adult to schedule appointments with their doctor and drive them there. They can even sit in on the appointments if the older adult would like them to, taking notes and helping the person to remember what the doctor says.
If you or an aging loved-one are considering in-home elder care in Palm Desert, CA, talk to the caring staff at Cambrian Home Care today. (562) 498-1800 / (877) 390-4300