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Pulmonary Fibrosis

Help me to prepare for the end-stage.

08/09/2009

Question:

My dad has Pulmonary fibrous for 5 years. He is on oxygen therapy of 4liters. In the last few months breathing has been alot more difficult. He has spells where he can breath,he yawns to help with episode and he becomes very diaphoretic. The spells last longer and become more frequent. He has gained alot of extra weight d/t not being able to do anything with the shortness of breath. His appetete has decreased. He also complains of pain from his longs. He has less than 30% of his long compacity left. His heart is hardening and he also has 2 anersyums one above and one below the heart. My question is he close to the end of this disease? Thank you

Answer:

Only the physicians directly involved in his care can answer that question with accuracy. However, generally speaking, the symptoms that you are describing can be seen in advanced stage idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis. This is an incurable disease, and as it advances, patients become less physically active because even minor activities can cause severe shortness of breath.

There are some other conditions that can also cause these symptoms, and it is worth asking his physicians if any of these could be present because if so, they may be treatable:

1) congestive heart failure,
2) pulmonary embolism (blood clot), or
3) infection.

If these other conditions can be excluded, then he may benefit by increasing the oxygen flow rate with activities, but this should only be done under the direction of his regular physicians.

For more information:

Go to the Pulmonary Fibrosis health topic, where you can:

Response by:

James N Allen, Jr, MD James N Allen, Jr, MD
Clinical Professor of Pulmonary, Allergy, Critical Care & Sleep Medicine
College of Medicine
The Ohio State University