CAUSES OF PULMONARY FIBROSIS
Pulmonary fibrosis (PF) is a condition that causes scarring of the lungs, keeping the body from getting enough oxygen. In PF, the scar tissue builds up in the walls of the air sacs of the lungs, and eventually the scar tissue makes it hard for oxygen to get into your blood. Increased scarring makes breathing difficult and affects the heart.
The causes of pulmonary fibrosis can be divided into five categories: autoimmune diseases, genetic/inherited diseases, occupational exposures, environmental exposures, and drug induced/medication exposures.
Autoimmune diseases, also called connective tissue diseases, collagen vascular diseases, or rheumatologic diseases, cause the body’s immune system to attack itself. If you have an autoimmune disease, your immune system can cause inflammation and scarring in the lungs. Some examples of autoimmune diseases that can cause PF include rheumatoid arthritis (RA), scleroderma, Churg-Strauss syndrome, lupus, and certain muscle diseases (ex. polymyositis, dermatomyositis).
Approximately 10-15% of those with an “idiopathic”, or unknown, form of PF have another family member afflicted by the disease. This is called “familial pulmonary fibrosis (FPF) or familial interstitial pneumonia (FIP)”. A number of genes and genetic deviations have been identified that are associated with PF, but genetic tests are seldom performed when PF is diagnosed, thus we are only just beginning to understand the importance of these genetic abnormalities.
Pulmonary fibrosis can develop after high exposure to a wide range of inorganic dusts, such as asbestos, silica, coal dust, beryllium, and hard metal dusts.
Another cause of some types of PF is organic dusts, such as animal proteins, bacteria, and molds. Diseases caused by inhaled organic dusts are often called “hypersensitivity pneumonitis”. Exposure to radiation can also contribute to the risk of PF.
Some medications have been linked to the development of PF, including drugs used to treat infections (nitrofurantoin, sulfasalazine), heart disease (amiodarone, propranolol), seizures (phenytoin), and cancer (methotrexate, bleomycin, oxaliplatin, radiation therapy). Patients with a family history of pulmonary fibrosis should speak with their doctors before accepting certain medications.
If you or someone you know has been diagnosed with Pulmonary Fibrosis as a result of occupational, environmental or other types of exposure, you may be entitled to compensation. The dedicated attorneys at Madeksho Law Firm, PLLC will help get you the compensation you deserve.