What Are Signs of Hardening of the Lungs?

Some signs of hardening of the lungs are difficulty breathing and chest pain, says WebMD. Other signs and symptoms include coughing, shallow breathing, appetite and weight loss, weakness, and fatigue, states HealthCentral.

Hardening of the lungs can be caused by many conditions such as complicated pleural effusion, explains WebMD. This occurs when the when too much fluid collects in the space between the surface of the lungs and the chest wall. The fluid can carry infection and cause the lung lining to harden, restricting breathing and causing chest pain and coughing. The fluid needs to be drained before hardening occurs.

Hardening of the lungs also occurs because of pulmonary fibrosis, a condition where fibrous tissue in the lungs grows rapidly, thickens and scars, according to HealthCentral. This damages the lining of the lungs and causes tissues to harden, which makes the individual experience difficulty breathing, coughing and bronchial irritation. Because not enough oxygen is flowing to the body, the person also experiences fatigue, weakness, appetite loss and weight loss. He also has a greater chance of developing other conditions such as heart disease, infections and emphysema. Because there is no cure, treatment is limited to medications that ease the symptoms and lung transplantation.