Ask the Nurse

I have Pulmonary Fibrosis. I belong to an online support group and the vast majority of patients are women. How important is it to know more about how the environment is affecting women’s lungs? And therefore our lives?

Pulmonary Fibrosis is a one of the most common types of fibrotic lung diseases. It is a chronic condition that involves the lower respiratory track and typically affects adults over the age of 40. It is characterized by a scarring of the lungs that thickens the tissue lining, causing an irreversible loss of the tissue’s ability to transport oxygen. Since this is a complex lung disorder, you should be following up with a pulmonologist, who is a highly specialized lung physician, to oversee your care.

Currently, treatment is mostly supportive. The mainstay of treatment would be supplemental oxygen and pulmonary rehabilitation, if needed. Be proactive in making sure you are up to date on your seasonal influenza and pneumococcal vaccinations. A pulmonologist will be knowledgeable on which medications you may qualify for based on your symptoms. While inhaling pollutants may worsen your lung disease, there is not current evidence to suggest that environmental pollutants cause Pulmonary Fibrosis. There is also no predominance in women, yet perhaps women take better comfort in communicating, which is why you see a strong presence of women in your online support group.

All My Best,
Speaking of Women's Health Nurse

October 24, 2014 at 1:33pm