Pulmonary fibrosis is a disease in which the lungs become scarred, causing the intricate passageways inside the lungs to thicken and harden.
The 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. It is a progressive disease in which sufferers get worse over time, sometimes slowly and other times rapidly.
Idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis is a form of pulmonary fibrosis that has no known cause.
When Did It Start?
To be honest, we can only pull from different times in history where the disease was actually measured.
It was during the 19th century when the first form of lung fibrosis was discovered. At the time, researchers and doctors alike were taking samples from the lungs to try and understand what was causing the scarring to occur.
Since pulmonary fibrosis is a form of interstitial lung disease (ILD), many doctors assumed that this condition was just part of a bigger form of the disease. There are currently over 100 types of ILD and not all of them have known causes.
Pulmonary fibrosis would see improved research during the 20th century. Doctors went on to learn more about the effects of pulmonary fibrosis on the lungs.
Researchers found that the lungs were directly affected by breathing in toxic smoke and that that the scarring would continue over time. Other factors found included a family history of the disease or being within an environment with dangerous chemicals that damaged the lungs.
During this time, doctors would also learn about the disease’s relationship with the heart and the lungs.
Several doctors and researchers have adapted to this disease more clearly over time. Now there are treatments available to help relieve the symptoms and you should consult with your doctor on finding the plan that works best for you.
Christine Kingsley, APRN is the Health and Wellness Director at the Lung Institute where she focuses on providing helpful online resources for people looking for information on various lung diseases, breathing exercises, and healthy lifestyle choices. She advocates for holistic care that involves working with your doctor to explore all options including traditional and alternative care while focusing on diet and exercise as proactive measures.