Fibrosing Alveolitis Symptoms, Causes, Diagnosis, Treatment

Fibrosing alveolitis is a lung condition that occurs in the interstitial space. This is a set of disorders that impair the tissues that support the air sacs in the lungs, making it more difficult for them to take in the amount of oxygen that the body needs to function properly.

A person’s ability to breathe is hampered when he has fibrosing alveolitis, which is characterized by scarring and thickening of the lungs. Symptoms can appear suddenly or take years to appear. There is no cure. Medications may assist to reduce scarring and maintain lung function. Using oxygen and being active can help to alleviate discomfort.

Fibrosing Alveolitis is also known by certain alternative names like Idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis, Cryptogenic fibrosing alveolitis, usual interstitial pneumonitis, and pulmonary fibrosis. While the word may be unfamiliar, fibrosing alveolitis is a disorder that affects over five million individuals globally, with roughly 5,000 new cases diagnosed each year in the United Kingdom.

Pulmonary fibrosis is a term that refers to a collection of significant lung disorders that impair the respiratory system. Scarring and thickening of lung tissue are hallmark features of pulmonary fibrosis. It affects the lung’s connective tissue as well as the alveoli. Tiny air sacs known as alveoli are found in the lungs of all mammals. When a person inhales, they aid in the delivery of oxygen to the body.

Fibrosing Alveolitis Symptoms, Causes, Diagnosis, Treatment

Fibrosing Alveolitis Symptoms

Pulmonary fibrosis affects people in different ways. Similar symptoms might be caused by a variety of common, easily curable diseases. These symptoms sometimes indicate an upper respiratory infection or a cold. 

The following are some of the symptoms of fibrosing alveolitis:

  1. Short, shallow bursts of breathing.
  2. A persistent dry cough.
  3. Sudden weight loss.
  4. Fatigue.
  5. Shortness of breath, particularly during or immediately after exertion.

Some people encounter the following symptoms as the condition progresses:

  1. Clubbing, different-looking fingertips or toes, such as broader or more spherical.
  2. Cyanosis, a condition in which the skin becomes bluish (in fair-skinned individuals) or grey or white (in dark-skinned people) around the mouth or eyes due to insufficient oxygen in the blood.

If a person experiences these symptoms, it is critical to have them looked out for because they can worsen over time, making even routine tasks more difficult.

Fibrosing Alveolitis Causes

Fibrosing alveolitis has been linked to autoimmune diseases like rheumatoid arthritis, and lupus in the past. In some circumstances, it may be related to particular cancer and heart disease medicine therapies.

However, in the vast majority of cases, the disease is unrelated to some other illness, and the reason is unknown, though medical experts believe environmental and genetic factors may play a role. Fibrosing Alveolitis can be caused by a variety of factors, including smoking. Generally, the cause is unknown.  Fibrosing Alveolitis can run in families in some cases.

Some other causes of fibrosing alveolitis include the following:

  1. Male biological sex.
  2. Working in the presence of dust or fumes.
  3. Rheumatoid Arthritis. 
  4. Cancer treatment such as chemotherapy.

Fibrosing Alveolitis Diagnosis

Unfortunately, fibrosing alveolitis causes permanent lung damage (not reversible). Getting identified and initiating therapy as soon as possible will help the lungs perform properly and for longer. Because there are several lung disorders with similar symptoms, the doctor needs to rule them out before making a definitive diagnosis. In most cases, doctors will listen to the chest, consider the medical and employment history, and schedule blood tests as soon as possible.

Additional tests may include:

  1. A chest x-ray/CT scan to provide a clear picture of the lungs.
  2. Breathing tests to see how well you can inhale and exhale.
  3. Bronchoscopy — a procedure in which a small tube containing a camera is inserted down into the lungs, allowing the doctor to examine what is really going on and collect tissue samples for study.

Fibrosing Alveolitis Treatment

There is currently no cure for pulmonary fibrosis. However, scientists from all across the world are attempting to change this scenario. The majority of pulmonary fibrosis treatments are aimed at relieving symptoms and promoting healthy life.

One or more of the following treatments may be suggested by the doctor:

  1. Transplant of the lungs, a lung transplant replaces one or both of a patient’s damaged lungs with a healthy donor lung (or lungs). A lung transplant is a big procedure for which not everyone is a suitable candidate. Consult the doctor to see if a candidate for a lung transplant is suitable.
  2. Lung rehabilitation.
  3. Oxygen treatment.
  4. Medications such as pirfenidone and nintedanib may help to slow down lung scarring. These drugs can help to keep the lungs healthy.

So, the above-mentioned treatment is very effective for fibrosing alveolitis. It is important to treat the disease immediately after the diagnosis for a healthy life.

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