People with pulmonary fibrosis live an average of three years after diagnosis, according to Merck Manual. The condition causes progressive lung scarring and gradually decreases oxygen levels in blood, triggering symptoms such as difficulty breathing, coughing, tiredness and shortness of breath during physical activity.
Lung damage from pulmonary fibrosis is irreparable as of 2015, so doctors focus on slowing the progress through rehabilitative techniques, medications and lung transplants, explains Mayo Clinic. However, severe scarring in the pulmonary arteries can lead to pulmonary high blood pressure, a potentially fatal complication of pulmonary fibrosis. A continual decrease in blood oxygen can trigger respiratory failure, while reduced blood circulation through the heart ventricles increases the risk of cardiac failure.