People who have pulmonary fibrosis have lungs affected by scar tissue, which makes them thick and stiff. It causes problems with breathing and can make life pretty difficult. Unfortunately, there’s no way to reverse the damage done to the lungs. However, treatments are available, including medications or a lung transplant. If you’re caring for a senior with pulmonary fibrosis, understanding more about the disease can make you better able to respond to it.
What Causes Pulmonary Fibrosis?
Pulmonary fibrosis causes scar tissue to form around the alveoli, which are the air sacs in the lungs. The scarring makes it hard for oxygen to get from the lungs into the bloodstream where it can be delivered to tissues throughout the body.
There are many things that can cause pulmonary fibrosis, including toxins, certain medical treatments, and other medical conditions.
The toxins that can lead to pulmonary fibrosis are typically encountered in an occupational environment. Some of the toxins that can cause the disease are:
- Hard metal dust.
- Coal dust.
- Grain dust.
- Animal and bird feces.
Medical treatments, including radiation and some medications, can result in pulmonary fibrosis. Radiation that to treat cancer around the lungs, such as breast cancer, can cause scarring of the lungs. Some medicines that can cause the disease are:
- Certain antibiotics.
- Medications used for heart disease.
- Chemotherapy drugs.
- Anti-inflammatory drugs.
In addition to toxins and medical treatments, some conditions can cause lung scarring, including pneumonia, rheumatoid arthritis, and others.
What Are the Symptoms of the Disease?
How an older adult is affected by pulmonary fibrosis depends on the severity of the disease. It may also progress in different ways. In some cases, people become severely ill quite quickly. However, people with more moderate symptoms may get gradually worse over time. There are also people who experience acute exacerbation, which means that their symptoms suddenly get much worse. These periods of exacerbation can last anywhere from several days to weeks.
Symptoms your aging relative may have as a result of pulmonary fibrosis are:
- Feeling short of breath.
- Dry coughing.
- Losing weight without trying.
- Pain in muscles and joints.
- Clubbing of fingers and toes.
Pulmonary fibrosis is a serious disease that requires making some lifestyle changes to keep the older adult as healthy as possible. Elder care can help to make those changes. One thing that will help is to eat a healthy diet that gives the body the energy it needs. Elder care providers can plan and cook meals for your aging relative. In addition, the senior will need to exercise every day to keep their lungs stronger and reduce the stress of having a chronic condition. Elder care providers can assist with exercise by taking walks with the senior or monitoring them for problems while they exercise at home.
If You Or An Aging Loved One Are Considering Hiring Elder Care in Pinellas Park, FL, Please Contact The Caring Staff At Assisting Hands Home Care Today! 727-748-4211.