About Pulmonary Fibrosis
Pulmonary fibrosis is a disease in which the lungs become scarred, causing the intricate passageways inside the lungs to thicken and harden. Hardening of passageways inside the lungs makes it difficult for oxygen to pass through the walls of the tiny air sacs (alveoli) into the bloodstream. The lack of oxygen in the bloodstream leaves sufferers of pulmonary fibrosis short of breath even after periods of prolonged rest. Pulmonary fibrosis is a progressive disease in which sufferers get worse over time, sometimes slowly and other times rapidly. Pulmonary fibrosis is commonly idiopathic, meaning the cause is unknown. The pulmonary fibrosis cases with known causes are typically linked to bronchiolar disorders, drug side-effects and environmental factors or is related to an autoimmune disorder that has already developed in the patient.
Pulmonary fibrosis is included in a family of conditions referred to as interstitial lung disease.
Symptoms of Pulmonary Fibrosis
Sometimes symptoms will progress very quickly, and other times symptoms will remain mild to moderate for years until progressing rapidly in later stages. Sufferers may experience episodes in which their symptoms suddenly worsen; these episodes are referred to as acute flare-ups of the disease. Shortness of breath is the most common complaint of pulmonary fibrosis sufferers, other symptoms include:
Treating Pulmonary Fibrosis
Smoking cessation is always the first step in treating a lung disease. Once you’ve visited with a pulmonologist you will likely get prescribed some medication to help your lung functioning, but note that pulmonary fibrosis does not have a known cure. It is also important that you regularly exercise your lungs and moderate your diet to help slow the progression of the disease. With all of these things, you may still not be satisfied with your ability to live a normal life.
The Lung Institute offers stem cell treatments for pulmonary fibrosis. The stem cells used by the Lung Institute are autologous, which means they come from the patient’s own body. The stem cells are extracted from either bone marrow or the patient’s blood (venous), depending on the patient’s current condition and health history. Adult stem cells have the capacity to form many types of differentiated cells, so when the stem cells are returned to the patient, they will target the damaged tissue, which leads to improved lung function in patients with a chronic lung disease. Our minimally invasive, outpatient stem cell procedures are changing lives by helping patients breathe easier.
Once the desired volume of stem cells are available, they are extracted from the patient’s own blood or bone marrow. The stem cells are then washed, isolated and returned to the patient intravenously. Once the cells are returned to the patient, they will begin to promote healing. Since stem cells can continually replicate, the lungs will progressively grow stronger, and patients may see improved lung function.