Pulmonary Fibrosis Symptoms

What is Pulmonary Fibrosis?

Pulmonary fibrosis scars the lungs, causing intricate pulmonary passageways to thicken and harden, obstructing the free passage of oxygen through the walls of the lungs’ tiny air sacs (alveoli) into the bloodstream. The resulting lack of oxygen in the bloodstream leaves sufferers short of breath, even after periods of prolonged rest. Idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis is a form of pulmonary fibrosis with no known cause. Pulmonary fibrosis is a progressive disease that varies in the rate of degeneration from person to person.

Pulmonary Fibrosis

Pulmonary fibrosis is a subset of a group of conditions referred to as interstitial lung disease.

The term interstitial lung disease refers to conditions that lead to inflammation or scarring of the lung’s delicate tissues. Some autoimmune disorders, specifically connective tissue disorders like rheumatoid arthritis can cause interstitial lung disease. Scarring of the lungs is irreversible. However,treatment options are available.

There are many causes of pulmonary fibrosis including occupational and environmental factors, reaction to medications, autoimmune disorders, infection, genetics and unknown factors. Smoking exacerbates the condition and may lead to cancer and/or other lung conditions.

Occupational and Environmental Factors:

Prolonged exposure to toxins or other pollutants can permanently damage the lungs.

  • Silica dust
  • Asbestos fibers
  • Grain dust
  • Bird and animal feces
  • Burn Pits
  • Herbicides

Drug-induced Factors:

Individuals who have received radiation therapy or have used certain medications for an extended period may be more susceptible.

  • Radiation therapy
  • Chemotherapeutic agents
  • Antiarrhythmics
  • Antibiotics
  • Anticonvulsants


The role of genetics in the onset of pulmonary fibrosis is still being evaluated. It is estimated that 10 to 15 percent of patients with idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis have some form of inherited pulmonary fibrosis, referred to as familial pulmonary fibrosis.

  • Familial pulmonary fibrosis
  • Hermansky-Pudlak syndrome

Autoimmune Disorders:

Sufferers of autoimmune diseases–specifically connective tissue disorders–can develop pulmonary fibrosis. These autoimmune disorders can lead to pulmonary fibrosis:

  • Scleroderma or progressive systemic sclerosis
  • Lupus
  • Rheumatoid arthritis
  • Polymyositis or dermatomyositis


Severe infections can contribute to multiple types of interstitial lung diseases, including pulmonary fibrosis.

  • Viral infections
  • Bacterial infections

Stem Cell Therapy for Pulmonary Fibrosis

In the case of pulmonary fibrosis, autologous stem cells are used; this means the cells come from the patient’s body. These stem cells are found in adult bone marrow or in blood (venous). Bone marrow or venous stem cells have the capacity to form many types of differentiated cells. During the procedure, stem cell therapy involves isolating adult cells from bone marrow and blood tissue requiring special laboratory techniques to collect. After extraction, the cells are isolated. At this point, the cells are returned to the patient intravenously or through the use of a nebulizer. The minimally invasive therapy can be performed as an outpatient procedure in a clinical setting under the supervision of a professional. It takes a physician that has sought specific training to perform stem cell therapy adequately, safely and successfully.

If you would like to find out more about how our treatment can relieve the symptoms of pulmonary fibrosis, please contact one of our patient care coordinators today at (800) 729-3065 to schedule a free consultation.

* 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.

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