What Can Be Expected During the End Stages of Pulmonary Fibrosis?

Patients with end-stage pulmonary fibrosis can expect their respiratory symptoms to worsen, according to the Coalition for Pulmonary Fibrosis. They may find it difficult to perform certain activities, including climbing stairs and walking.

As the pulmonary fibrosis progresses, a patient may require supplemental oxygen, notes the Coalition for Pulmonary Fibrosis. Pulmonary fibrosis causes hypoxemia, which is low oxygen levels in the blood. This strains the heart and the lung’s blood vessels. As a result, the patient may suffer high blood pressure in the lungs.

As the condition worsens, the patient can expect more flare-ups and frequent hospitalization, according to Locally Healthy. Any exertion, including talking and eating, may result in breathlessness. The patient may also find it more difficult to breathe while lying down. Other symptoms that patients should expect include disturbed sleep patterns, poor appetite, weight loss and a troublesome cough. The patient may also experience fluid retention in the abdomen and the legs.

End-stage pulmonary fibrosis makes it more difficult for a patient to fight off infections, reports the Coalition for Pulmonary Fibrosis. He has a higher risk of heart attacks, stroke, respiratory failure and lung infections. He may also develop blood clots in the lungs or get lung cancer.

Toward the end of life, a patient may not want to drink or eat due to swallowing difficulties, explains Locally Healthy. He may lose physical energy and feel drowsy most of the time. The patient may experience involuntary twitches as well as changes in skin temperature and color.