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What is lung fibrosis?

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Lung fibrosis, or pulmonary fibrosis, takes place when damaged and scarred tissue in the lung causes it to dysfunction, explains Mayo Clinic. The cause of lung fibrosis is unknown as of 2015, and the lung damage is irreparable.

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Symptoms of lung fibrosis include aching muscles and joints, shortness of breath, fatigue, dry cough and unexplained weight loss, states Mayo Clinic. These symptoms vary from moderate to severe with each person. Imaging tests such as a chest X-ray, CT scan and echocardiogram are used to diagnose lung fibrosis, along with lung function tests such as oximetry, exercise stress tests and pulmonary function testing. Lung tissue samples such as the bronchoscopy, bronchoalveolar lavage and surgical biopsy are often used with lung fibrosis diagnosis.

There is no cure for the lung scarring that occurs in lung fibrosis as of 2015, and there are also no effective treatments to stop lung fibrosis progression, according to Mayo Clinic. Medications such as cortisone, cyclosporine, methotrexate and prednisone often treat lung fibrosis but are not effective for a long-term period. Oxygen therapy does not stop lung damage but improves sleep, reduces blood pressure in the heart and lessens or prevents complications from low blood oxygen levels. A lung transplant is an option for a person with severe lung fibrosis who does not respond to any other treatment.

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