Do you have any scars somewhere on your skin? Most people do.
Some scars are small and hard to notice, while others are large and obvious. Now picture scarring like this in your lungs.
Unfortunately, scarring like this can happen with the development of chronic lung diseases.
Lung scarring is a serious issue because scars cannot be reversed.
When your lungs are scarred, the scar tissue inhibits the ability of your lungs to take in air and process it into oxygen for your blood.
So what causes scarring of the lungs?
Many chronic lung conditions cause scar tissue to develop.
Some of the most common ones include:
- Pulmonary fibrosis
- Pneumoconiosis and more
Hundreds of serious lung conditions can cause scarring and permanent damage to the lungs.
These may all be identified under one blanket term, interstitial lung disease.
Typically, these conditions develop as the body’s immune system reacts to some sort of irritation or viral attack.
These immune system reactions often develop into inflammation. It’s this inflammation that leads to scarring.
Preventing interstitial lung disease
Interstitial lung disease cannot be cured, and lung scarring and damage are irreversible.
Medical professionals may provide treatments to reduce symptoms and slow the disease’s progression.
Some cases of interstitial lung disease are genetic and cannot be avoided, but many cases can be prevented.
The following are risk factors that may lead to the development of a chronic lung disease that scars your lungs:
- Working with hazardous chemicals
- Working in poorly ventilated, dusty areas
If you begin exhibiting symptoms, such as difficulty breathing, shortness of breath, fatigue and persistent coughing, you should seek medical assistance.
Medical professionals, like those at the Lung Institute, may diagnose and treat lung conditions.
Treatments will vary depending on the severity of your condition, but the general goal of treatment is to manage your symptoms and help you breathe easier again to live a better quality of life.
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.