When damage occurs within your lungs, scar tissue will form at the site of the injury. If this scar tissue reaches a critical mass then you could develop a condition known as pulmonary fibrosis in which the level of scarring and damage becomes too severe for your lungs to efficiently supply oxygen to the rest of your body. This can lead to a myriad of symptoms.
There are some cases of pulmonary fibrosis in which doctors can’t even identify what the cause was. These cases are referred to as idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis. Some patients may have an acute exacerbation which is a fancy medical term meaning that their symptoms progress at a rapid pace. This could last for a few days but may even linger on for as long as weeks. Those with acute exacerbations are often assisted with a ventilator to ensure they don’t die of hypoxia.
1. Shortness of breath
Shortness of breath is one of the most common, if not the most common symptom of pulmonary fibrosis. After all, how could you not be short of breath if your lungs have lost the ability to pump out a sufficient level of oxygen that your body needs to function? Shortness of breath is referred to as dyspnea by doctors.
All that being said, it is rarely used to diagnose pulmonary fibrosis due to the fact that it can be caused by various other lung diseases as well. Tuberculosis and pulmonary sarcoidosis have both been known to cause shortness of breath in their patients. Still, it can help you pinpoint the cause — and figure out if it is, in fact, pulmonary fibrosis — if you take note of it then try to cross-reference some of the other symptoms on this list.