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COPD vs Pulmonary Fibrosis: Here’s What You Need to Know

COPD vs. Pulmonary Fibrosis: Here's What You Need to Know

COPD or Pulmonary Fibrosis? Find out the difference here.

Chronic lung disease in any form can often be a debilitating affliction, dramatically affecting one’s quality of life, energy levels, and even appearance. Respiratory illness is a growing concern among not only Americans but the world at large. For many, Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD) is often the most prevalent. However, even though pulmonary fibrosis may be less common, its effects are generally fatal. Though both diseases can be experienced simultaneously, the two illnesses are drastically different in a variety of ways.

The Lung Institute is here to inform and to empower, and with your health in mind, we’ll look at the difference between COPD and Pulmonary Fibrosis, and what you can do about it. When it comes to COPD vs Pulmonary Fibrosis, here’s what you need to know.

Obstructive vs Restrictive

COPD vs Pulmonary Fibrosis: Here's What You Need to Know

Within respiratory disease, there are two classifications: obstructive and restrictive. While obstructive respiratory disease is characterized by the difficulty of expelling oxygen, restrictive respiratory disease is defined by the struggle to fully expand the lungs.

In obstructive pulmonary disease, after the lungs are damaged or the airways become narrowed, exhaled air comes out more slowly than normal. This makes it harder to breathe, particularly after strenuous activity or exertion. As the rate of breathing is increased, there is less time to breathe out all the air before the next inhalation, creating the sensation of feeling out of breath.

While in restrictive pulmonary disease, the lungs themselves are restricted from fully expanding. Whether as a result of stiffness of the chest, weak muscles, damaged nerves or internal scarring, restriction of the lungs from expanding creates a similar sensation of breathlessness.

 COPD

COPD vs Pulmonary Fibrosis: Here's What You Need to Know

Although encompassing several obstructive lung diseases (emphysema, chronic bronchitis, and at times, asthma, bronchiectasis and cystic fibrosis) COPD is pretty common, affecting 600 million people worldwide. As an obstructive lung disease, it is characterized by poor airflow, inflammation and dilation of the airways, and is known to worsen over time. Occurring primarily as the result of direct inhalation of smoke or other harmful particulates, the obstruction to breathing stems from a concurrence of airway inflammation and emphysema.

Signs and Symptoms Include

  • Cough
  • Shortness of breath
  • Chest tightness
  • Fatigue

How You Can Treat It

  • Corticosteroids
  • Oxygen Therapy
  • Nutrition & Exercise
  • Stem Cell Therapy

Pulmonary Fibrosis

COPD vs Pulmonary Fibrosis: Here's What You Need to Know

Pulmonary Fibrosis (PF) literally means “scarring of the lungs” and it permanently scars the lungs of over 5 million people worldwide. It is a respiratory disease characterized by the excessive build-up of scar tissue leading to a thickening of the walls. This ultimately causes reduced oxygen supply to the blood and leads to shortness of breath. However, the key difference between the two diseases is that the cause of PF compared to COPD is often difficult to diagnose. In comparison to COPD, pulmonary fibrosis is not always connected to smoke or other inhalants, and in some cases can occur as a result of a genetic predisposition to the disease. This status of an unknown origin often leads to the diagnosis of idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis (IPF).

Signs and Symptoms Include

  • Shortness of breath
  • Chronic cough
  • Fatigue and weakness
  • Chest discomfort
  • Loss of appetite and rapid weight loss

How You Can Treat It

  • Medication that suppresses the body’s immune system (Pirfenidone, prednisone)
  • Oxygen Therapy
  • Stem Cell Therapy

As new discoveries are being made in the field of stem cell research, this is an exciting time for the treatment of respiratory illness. As the scientific community continues to put their best minds to the task of solving the problems and complications of the human body, we will continue to bring these advancements to the public with the hope of bettering the quality of life for those who need it most.

If you’re looking to make a profound change in your life or the life of someone you love, the time is now. If you or a loved one suffers from COPD, or another lung disease, the Lung Institute may be able to help with a variety of stem cell treatment options. Contact us at (800) 729-3065 to find out if you qualify for stem cell therapy.

Do you have COPD or Pulmonary Fibrosis? We want to hear from you. Share your thoughts and comments on COPD vs Pulmonary Fibrosis: Here’s What You Need to Know below.

41 Comments

  1. PB

    5 months ago

    Dear David,

    First and foremost, thank you for sharing your story with us. While living with chronic lung disease and osteoarthritis is difficult, you seem to have a great, positive attitude. It sounds like you and your doctor have developed a good treatment plan for you as well. Like you, our patients have worked with their doctors to develop a good treatment plan, and our patients have seen improvements to their overall quality of life. We are happy to answer any questions you have regarding stem cell treatment options, so feel free to contact us at (855) 313-1149 to speak one-on-one with a patient coordinator. We wish you the best, and we look forward to speaking with you soon.

    Kind Regards,

    The Lung Institute

  2. David Jones

    5 months ago

    I am nearly 84 years and was diagnosed with Pulmonary Fibrosis and Emhysema on 1 Oct 2015. I use oxygen min 16 hrs each 24hrs. I also have oesteoarthritis in rt hip which makes walking extremely difficult and painful.
    My coughing has worsened in the last three months.
    That’s the bad bit.
    On the plus side I’ve had a good long life, been lots of places and have a grand family. I can enjoy good restaurants, TV and even trying to create a small garden. Yesterday we splashed out and bought an expensive sofa and didn’t think twice about doing so. If I am going to get progressively worse as time goes by I intend to be sitting comfortably! I am using a treadmill most days for just five to ten minutes and a stationary bike for the same amount of time. Boring as hell but it gives me time to mull over what I’m going to eat/do/see next and my Consultant says it will definitely help.
    I also have 2 5kg hand-weights at the foot of my sofa and enjoy impressing my dear wife with my great physique – well not really but she seems to like the fact that I am trying.
    The actual dying bit is unavoidable and I have accepted that now and it doesn’t bother me. I will try to continue to do all those things which give me pleasure and hope I can do them for many years to come but if it gets too painful along the way I am sure someone will be at hand to help me through that time and I am grateful for that.

  3. PB

    5 months ago

    Dear Gloria,

    While stem cell treatment is not yet covered by insurance, we’re hopeful that it will be in the future. In the meantime, we are happy to answer any questions you have regarding stem cell treatment, so feel free to contact us at (855) 313-1149 to speak with a patient coordinator. Thanks for your comment, and we look forward to hearing from you soon.

    Best Regards,

    The Lung Institute

  4. gloria jacobs

    5 months ago

    I did not realize stem cell treatment os ot covered by insurance. Seems a shame.

  5. R M

    5 months ago

    Interesting article, but seemingly some misinformation is included. You say “Although encompassing five obstructive lung diseases (emphysema, chronic bronchitis, asthma, bronchiectasis, and cystic fibrosis) COPD is pretty common, affecting 600 million people worldwide.” Based on what I read on various medical sites, such as NIH, COPD does NOT include asthma, brochiectasis, or cystic fibrosis. Those would be potentially comorbid conditions or alternative diagnoses, but not the same as COPD. For instance, “COPD is diagnosed clinically based on history and physical examination, complemented by spirometric data demonstrating irreversible or poorly reversible airflow obstruction in the absence of an alternate diagnosis such as congestive heart failure, neuromuscular disease or asthma (Man et al 2003)” (from http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2650603/). You may want to clarify that these other conditions are obstructive pulminary diseases, but they are NOT COPD, and may in fact have different responses to recommended treatments.

  6. Cameron Kennerly

    6 months ago

    Hello Barbara,

    Thanks for your question! To clarify, pulmonary hypertension refers to high blood pressure within the arteries of the lungs, while pulmonary fibrosis is a disease in which the lungs become inflamed and begin to develop scar tissue. In regards to your recent health struggles we’re sorry to hear that you’ve been experiencing such a decline. If you’d like to speak with one of our patient coordinators regarding stem cell therapy and what it could mean for your daily life, please feel free to call us at (855) 313-1149.

    We hope to hear from you Barbara,

    -The Lung Institute

  7. Barbara floyd

    6 months ago

    What is the difference in pulmonary hypertension and pulmonary fibrosis I also have copy and arthritis and have been on antibiotics so many times the last 4 years. I’ve lost 35 lbs since December which I needed to but the last couple of months my energy level has dropped. My Dr told me 47 percent of my right lung is gone

  8. Cameron Kennerly

    6 months ago

    Hello Larry,

    In response to your question, the only reason you would be denied in your case is if your cancer hadn’t been in remission for at least 5 years. On the other hand, if your cancer HAS been in remission for over 5 years then please give us a call at your earliest convenience for an additional follow-up at (855) 313-1149.

    We hope this was helpful Larry and we look forward to hearing from you.

    Best,

    -The Lung Institute

  9. Larry Kopp

    6 months ago

    I have pulmonary fibrosis due to scarring of my lung after lung cancer radiation treatment in 2002. Part of my right lung was removed. The breathing difficulty did not seem to exist the first few years but for the last couple of years it has worsened. I sleep with oxygen at night and use it during the day upon exertion. I am also taking pulmonary rehab twice a week I was told by your office that I would not be a candidate for stem cell therapy because of my previous cancer. What is the reason for this? My doctor has recently put me on 5 mg of prednisone daily. Since stem cell treatent seems out of the question, do you have any other advice? Thank you.

  10. Cameron Kennerly

    9 months ago

    Hello Nancy,

    First and foremost we’d like to extend our sympathies to you and your husband regarding his declining condition. However there are options available such as stem cell therapy that can be used to address your husband’s disease. In our last study, 84% of our patients have seen their quality of life improve. For more information on how stem cell therapy can address your husband’s symptoms and disease, please give us a call at (855) 313-1149 to speak with one of our patient coordinators.

    We look forward to hearing from you Nancy,

    -The Lung Institute

  11. nancy

    9 months ago

    husband is not breathing to good . he has lungs diseases.what can we do

  12. Cameron Kennerly

    9 months ago

    Hello Mickey,

    Thank you so much for your comment and words of advice for our readers. We wish you continued good health and please keep us updated on your progress and lifestyle.

    Best,

    -The Lung Institute

  13. Mickey Josephson

    9 months ago

    Hi, I was diagnosed with Pullminary Fibrosis about six months ago, the doctor who made that diagnosis gave me two years to live. He said there is a pill to handle this, but it’s about $7,000 per month. . . .
    The VA Hospital treating me has been little help,–so I’ve decided to find my own solution and continually search for answers.Firstly, let me state,if doctors don’t know the cause for PF they’ll never find a solution–
    because, the actual solution is in the problem. So, that leaves it up to you and me, the patient.
    So,patient,here’s what I’ve learned. Firstly, you must get much sleep, and don’t be surprised when you awake and feel short of breath.–Just take deep breaths,breathing through your nose and exhaling through your mouth. Do this often;then, insist your body dress itself,eat a good hearty breakfast,–I eat natural cereal, with bannas, blue berries and drink orange juice. I don’t drink or use dairy ,and I get out of the house inspite of this body refusing to do so. I carry portable oxygen and use it when desperate or short of breath. Usually,I get 4 to 6 hours outside time to get
    some things done. I find getting out in the early evening is best for me.
    Since I’ve been diagnosed wityh PF, I believe the symptoms have lessened by 15 to 20 per cent. I hope this helps someone out there. Next time I write I’ll tell you more.
    Never give up, keep examining the problem and your individual solution will appear.

  14. PB

    9 months ago

    Hello Patricia,

    Thanks for your comment. Unfortunately, at this time, insurance companies don’t cover treatment. However, we’re hopeful that treatment will be covered by insurance companies in the near future. Keep in mind that it will take some time before the insurance companies see a financial benefit in their favor and then decide to cover it. In the meantime, you can learn more about possible stem cell treatment options and have your questions answered by one of our patient coordinators. Feel free to contact us at (855) 313-1149 for more information. We look forward to hearing from you soon.

    Kind Regards,

    The Lung Institute

  15. Cameron Kennerly

    9 months ago

    Hello Vanessa,

    We’re sorry to hear you’ve been having such a difficult time with your health lately. Although we can’t give medical advice through this particular channel, we can advise that our stem cell treatments have shown efficacy in treating the diseases and symptoms you’ve described. If you’d like to learn more and have the specifics of your questions addressed, please reach out to us at (855) 313-1149 to speak with one of our knowledgeable and friendly patient coordinators.

    Thanks for your question Vanessa and we look forward to hearing from you,

    -The Lung Institute

  16. PB

    9 months ago

    Dear Larry,

    Thanks for your comment. We do operate under the guidelines of the FDA, but as of right now, the FDA doesn’t regulate a patient’s own cells. We’re hopeful that treatment will be covered by insurance companies in the near future, but it will take some time before the insurance companies see a financial benefit in their favor and then decide to cover it. However, you can learn more about possible stem cell treatments and have your questions answered by one of our qualified patient coordinators. Feel free to contact us at (855) 313-1149 for more information. We look forward to hearing from you soon.

    Best Regards,

    The Lung Institute

  17. Vanessa autrey

    9 months ago

    I have severe cops, emphysema, bronchitis,and allergic asthma. I still have to work every day the breathing issues and fatigue are getting worse.steroids help but the side affects are going to drive me nut… I’ve been on them constantly since last November.with the doses going up and down as needed with shots according to the severity of my condition at the time. Any suggestions???

  18. Patricia

    10 months ago

    Hello, my husband has COPD and Emphysema and every year he is getting worse with his breathing. I called the office for this stem Cell treatment but they said that insurance will not pay for this. What is wrong with our insurance companies? They will pay for these wellness tests like pap test, flu shots, colonoscopy test but will not pay for people to be able to breath. I wouldn’t wish anything like not being able to breath on an animal much less a human but what if the head person over this decision of paying for people to be able to breath better happened to them would they change the insurance policies? Probably not because they probably make enough money to pay in cash for the stem cell treatment. To heck with everybody else.

  19. Larry W.

    10 months ago

    I would love to go to one of your clinics and get the treatment. My pulmonary doctor said its very expensive and not approved by the insurance so there’s no guarantee, which $10,000 is alot. Sure hope its approval by the FDA soon.

  20. Jenell R

    10 months ago

    I am interested in knowing how Willie Nelson is doing? Hopefully, really well. So is Willie going to give an update soon maybe after May. I want everyone to at least have a higher quality of life after having stem cell replacement procedure.

  21. Cameron Kennerly

    10 months ago

    Hello Carlene,

    Thank you for your question. Although it is difficult to answer your question without the specifics of your current health and condition, we welcome you to reach out and speak to one of our knowledgeable and friendly patient coordinators at (855) 313-1149.

    Thanks again Carlene and we look forward to hearing from you,

    -The Lung Institute

  22. Cameron Kennerly

    10 months ago

    Hello Ed,

    First off we’d like to thank you for your time and consideration in not only reading our article, but in contributing to the conversation. We really appreciate your honesty and input in this discussion. We can assure you that we wholeheartedly empathize with your frustration regarding the current lack of coverage for this form of medicine. In fact, it is precisely through our belief in this form of treatment that we work so diligently to keep those who suffer from chronic lung disease informed on the variety of natural and alternative treatments available. Through pushing this form of medicine, we hope to lead the charge in bringing this form of treatment into mainstream acceptance. And in our first study, 84% of patients found their quality of life had improved within their first 3 months of treatment.

    We believe the day in which insurance companies cover this form of treatment is coming soon, and through individuals like yourself asking questions and making your voice heard, that day may be coming sooner than we think.

    If you have anymore questions please feel free to reach out to us at (855) 313-1149 to speak with one of our knowledgeable and friendly patient coordinators.

    Thanks for the feedback Ed,

    -The Lung Institute

  23. Carlene DENMAN

    10 months ago

    I have bronchiectasis and Mac. Since I have bronchiectasis in all parts of my lungs my doctor says stem cell does not work what are your best suggestions for me

  24. Ed Neustadt

    10 months ago

    Thank you for giving me this moment to comment. I do believe stem cell surgery may be picking of the future.
    But what does it do for the people who need it now. If the professional doctor or the insurance companies do not see it as a viable of treatment that is experimental. To me this means you were charging patients to do experiments on them. Why not get this approved so that insurance companies will pay and Medicare will cover the cost of your procedure or is this like the many pills I see you have a test on the Internet that only produce money for the seller and no benefit for the patient.

  25. Cameron Kennerly

    10 months ago

    Good Morning Joanne,

    First and foremost we’d like to say thank you for your feedback and time in reading our article. Although in any medical treatment, a 100% success rate is never guaranteed, we are proud to say that 84% of our patients have seen improvement to their quality of life within 3 months of treatment. We welcome you to browse through our testimonial page to see how our treatment has affected the lives of others, as well as to call us at (855) 313-1149 to speak with one of our patient coordinators regarding treatment.

    Thanks again Joanne and we look forward to hearing from you,

    -The Lung Institute

  26. Judiann

    10 months ago

    I have had pulmonary fibrosis for many yrs..treated with prednisone the past few yrs at National Jewish in Denver,the Mayo Clinic of respiratory illnesses
    According to US News and World Report..As time continues, I know my breathing shall become more difficult..I’m currently using oxygen especially needed on exertion.

    Be Blessed.

  27. Joanne Higdon

    10 months ago

    I Don’t mind spending the money if I can be assured it works!!! Just won’t on a “definite maybe”

  28. Weldon Frost

    10 months ago

    IPF

  29. Pingback: Lung Institute | Lung Disease First-Aid Kit

  30. Cameron Kennerly

    10 months ago

    Hello Angela,

    First and foremost we’d like to thank you for your kind words on our aims to promote a healthy lifestyle and positive change with our readership. For many who are diagnosed with COPD and other lung diseases, hope in the future can quickly be lost. It is our goal to give those suffering from respiratory illness, the knowledge to empower themselves to a better quality of life and well-being. And although insurance companies have yet to approve this form of treatment at this current stage, we believe that day is coming soon, and with it, a rapid expansion of access to treatment for those who need it most.

    Thanks again for your feedback Angela. Honesty is value that is always appreciated!

    Best,

    -The Lung Institute

  31. Dear lung Institute
    While retaining a healthy lifestyle and being committed to lifestyle changes and your encouraging words mean so much to so many suffering by the inability to perfume vital organs with oxygen, I urge you to put your research and words where they belong and start actually helping people by allowing them an affordable option rather than just lip service. Someday those lips may have to be pursed in order to urge others to stay strong!

  32. Cameron Kennerly

    10 months ago

    Hello Jean,

    We wholeheartedly sympathize with your recent diagnosis and health struggles. Although unfortunately insurance companies have yet to approve this form of treatment for coverage, we believe that the day in which stem cell therapy is fully covered is coming soon. Until that time, we urge you to remain hopeful regarding your respiratory health and if you ever have any questions regarding stem cell therapy or tips for living with lung disease in general, please reach out to us at (855) 313-1149 and we’d be happy to assist.

    Best,

    -The Lung Institute

  33. Jean Morgan

    10 months ago

    I was diagnosed with asthma, COPD, and Pulmanary Fibrosis, and have recently found that stem cell research is helping others. I called only to find out that it very well could help, but my insurance does not cover it, and I can not afford to pay for it. Something needs to be done, to hold out a promise of hope in front of an individual that is dying from this disease and can not financially pay for it is very disturbing.

  34. Cameron Kennerly

    10 months ago

    Hey Ramona,

    Our hearts go out to you and your recent health struggles. Although pulmonary fibrosis may be a life-changing diagnosis, we urge you to remain committed to retaining your quality of life through small lifestyle and behavioral changes. If you ever have any questions regarding stem cell therapy or tips for living with lung disease in general, please reach out to us at (855) 313-1149 and we’d be happy to assist.

    Best,

    -The Lung Institute

  35. Ramona Martin

    10 months ago

    I was just diagnosed with PF …

  36. PB

    10 months ago

    Dear Gail,

    Thanks for your comment. To answer your question, it’s best if you speak with one of our well-qualified patient coordinators. They have a wealth of knowledge about stem cell treatments, cost, and candidacy for treatment. Feel free to contact us today by calling (855) 313-1149. We look forward to hearing from you soon.

    Best Regards,

    The Lung Institute

  37. Gail Pyne

    10 months ago

    R u eligible for stem cell therapy if u have had Cancer n COPD

  38. PB

    10 months ago

    Hi Shawn,

    Thanks for your question. Here are some blog articles that you might find helpful: E-Cig Flavors Can Cause Lung Stress and Are E-Cigs Still Bad for People with Lung Disease?.

    We hope you find these helpful. Remember that you can ask your doctor any questions you may have as well.

    Best Regards,

    The Lung Institute

  39. Shawn cassum

    10 months ago

    what effects if any can e-cigarettes or vaping have on someone who has copd?

  40. John

    10 months ago

    Thank you for the information. I find flying very difficult. Do others find the same?

  41. TEENA CRAFT

    10 months ago

    BACK IN 1999 I WAS DIAGNOSED WITH PF BY ONE DR. BUT MY WORK SENT ME TO THEIR DR. AND HE SAID COPD. MY DR. TOOK LUNG SAMPLE THE OTHER JUST DID CT OF MY LUNGS SO I HAVE BEEN ON INHALER’S SINCE 99 AND I CATCH RESPITORY INFECTION’S VERY EASY.HARD TO CLEAR UP

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* All treatments performed at Lung Institute utilize autologous stem cells, meaning those derived from a patient's own body. No fetal or embryonic stem cells are utilized in Lung Institute's procedures. Lung Institute aims to improve patients' quality of life and help them breathe easier through the use of autologous stem cell therapy. To learn more about how stem cells work for lung disease, click here.

All claims made regarding the efficacy of Lung Institute's treatments as they pertain to pulmonary conditions are based solely on anecdotal support collected by Lung Institute. Individual conditions, treatment and outcomes may vary and are not necessarily indicative of future results. Testimonial participation is voluntary. Lung Institute does not pay for or script patient testimonials.

Under current FDA guidelines and regulations 1271.10 and 1271.15, the Lung Institute complies with all necessary requirements for operation. Any individual who accesses Lung Institute's website for information is encouraged to speak with his or her primary physician for treatment suggestions and conclusive evidence. All information on this site should be used for educational and informational use only.