What is fibrosis?


Quick Answer

Fibrosis refers to the formation of fibrous tissue, according to The Free Dictionary. An example is congenital hepatic fibrosis, in which the liver forms wide bands of fibrous tissue in an irregular pattern. The tissue contains cysts from faulty terminal bile ducts and leads to constricted blood flow.

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Full Answer

One reason for fibrosis is a response to an event in the body or as part of a repair process, notes The Free Dictionary. Sometimes, this happens as a result of disease or treatment.

One well-known example of fibrosis is cystic fibrosis, a condition that significantly damages the digestive system and the lungs, according to Mayo Clinic. This disorder affects cells that generate sweat, mucus and digestive juices. Normally, these fluids are all slippery and thin, but they thicken thanks to a defective gene when a person has cystic fibrosis. Instead of providing their normal lubricant functions, these fluids clog up ducts, passageways and tubes, particularly in the pancreas and lungs.

Pulmonary fibrosis happens when lung tissue develops scarring and damage, reports Mayo Clinic. The tissue stiffens, and the lungs cannot work as easily. The further the disorder develops, the more the patient suffers from shortness of breath. Many different factors cause the scarring connected to pulmonary fibrosis, but the majority of the time, doctors fail to identify the cause. In those cases, the condition is referred to as idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis.

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