Pulmonary Fibrosis Isn’t So Far Away: Get to Know What Causes It

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What can cause pulmonary fibrosis?

1 Answer

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Pulmonary fibrosis is a lung disease that occurs when scars are formed in the lung. It can cause serious breathing problems. If you get pulmonary fibrosis, you may have symptoms like shortness of breath, fatigue, nail clubbing, a dry cough and unexplained weight loss. A lot of factors can lead to pulmonary fibrosis, including long-term exposure to certain toxins and pollutants, medications, certain medical conditions and radiation therapy.

Long-term exposure to toxins and pollutants, including:

  • Silica dust.
  • Coal dust.
  • Grain dust.
  • Asbestos fibers.
  • Hard metal dusts.

Medications

Some medications can also cause damage to the lungs, and people who take these medications for a long time may have pulmonary fibrosis. These medications include:
  • Antibiotics, such as nitrofurantoin (Macrobid, Macrodantin, others) or ethambutol.
  • Anti-inflammatory medications, such as rituximab (Rituxan) or sulfasalazine (Azulfidine).
  • Chemotherapy drugs, such as methotrexate (Trexall, Otrexup, others) and cyclophosphamide.
  • Heart medications, such as amiodarone (Cordarone, Nexterone, Pacerone).

Medical conditions

Many medical conditions can result in lung damage and may lead to pulmonary fibrosis. The medical conditions include:
  • Pneumonia.
  • Sarcoidosis.
  • Scleroderma.
  • Polymyositis.
  • Rheumatoid arthritis.
  • Systemic lupus erythematosus.

Radiation therapy

Radiation therapy for lung or breast cancer may cause damage to the lungs and increase the risk of getting pulmonary fibrosis.

Other risk factors

Plenty of other factors also increase the risk of pulmonary fibrosis, including:
  • Smoking.
  • Genetic factors.
  • Age. (Middle-aged and older adults are the most affected.)
  • Gender. (Male is more likely to be affected than female.)
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