Pulmonary Fibrosis

Information From The British Lung Foundation

Pulmonary fibrosis is a term that covers many different conditions that cause scar tissue to build up in your lungs. This build-up of scar tissue, which makes your lungs stiff, is called fibrosis. Pulmonary fibrosis is a type of interstitial lung disease (ILD). ‘Interstitial’ means the disease affects the interstitium, the lace-like network of tissue that supports the air sacs in your lungs. There are more than 200 different ILDs.

Understanding Pulmonary Fibrosis

Some types of pulmonary fibrosis have an identifiable cause. But for many types, a definite cause cannot be found. In ILDs, there can be scarring in your lungs or inflammation in your lungs. Some ILDs mostly cause scarring, some mostly cause inflammation. But often there is a combination of these processes going on. Which of these processes is dominant can determine what kind of treatment you may have.

The treatment and outlook for different types of pulmonary fibrosis vary considerably, so if you’re not sure about your diagnosis, check with your doctor or nurse for the exact name of your lung condition.

All types of pulmonary fibrosis are rare. Although we do not always know what causes pulmonary fibrosis, we do know it is not a form of cancer or cystic fibrosis, and it is not contagious.

What causes Pulmonary Fibrosis?

There are sometimes we find causes for this condition or in most types of pulmonary fibrosis a specific cause cannot be found.

Some of the causes are:

  • Being exposed to certain types of dust – including wood or metal dusts or asbestos
  • Being exposed to allergens – such as bird feathers or mould
  • A side effect of a drug

Some types of pulmonary fibrosis occur when you have another condition such as rheumatoid arthritis or scleroderma.

In a very few cases, two or more members of a family may develop pulmonary fibrosis. But current research suggests the genetics of familial interstitial lung disease is complex and there is no clear inherited predisposition to develop pulmonary fibrosis.

If cause cannot be found it is called ‘Idiopathic Pulmonary Fibrosis.

Common symptoms:

  • Getting out of breath easily
  • Cough that doesn’t go away
  • Feeling very tired all the time
  • Some people with pulmonary fibrosis can also have a fever, lose weight or experience muscle and joint pain.


Range of treatments available in this area depends on the cause.

At Chapman Physiotherapy Anil can help you with:

  • Coping with flare ups and preventing chest infections
  • Disease education
  • Self-management of your condition
  • Vaccinations
  • Eating well and keeping a healthy weight
  • Other treatments such as advice on reducing bladder leakage or cough incontinence
  • Dealing with anxiety/mental health issues
  • Managing breathlessness symptoms
  • Positions and breathing exercises to help with your breathing
  • Inspiratory muscle training to strengthen muscles that helps for your breathing
  • Cough management and mucus or sputum clearance from chest by using specialist equipment
  • Inhalers may not help in this condition unless you have them for asthma or COPD.
  • Advice on Oxygen and Nebuliser
  • Information on pulmonary Fibrosis support groups
  • If necessary communicating with GP for onward referrals to specialists/investigations in hospital

About Chapman Physiotherapy

At Chapman Physiotherapy Ltd we pride ourselves on offering a first class physiotherapy service in South Yorkshire. Based in Doncaster, our easily accessible location provides full disabled facilities and appointments are available from early morning to late evening.