Skip to Content

Another Deadly Disease for Smokers: Pulmonary Fibrosis

FRIDAY, Jan. 29, 2021 -- Current and former smokers are at risk for a lung disease called pulmonary fibrosis, but many aren't aware of the threat, the Pulmonary Fibrosis Foundation says.

There is no cure for the disease, which affects more than 200,000 Americans.

A recent foundation survey found that more than 80% of smokers are unfamiliar with pulmonary fibrosis. This is a concerning statistic among a group disproportionately affected by the disease.

Both smokers and nonsmokers have little awareness of the disease, and nearly 9 out of 10 Americans don't know its symptoms: shortness of breath, a dry, chronic cough and fatigue.

"Smokers are often aware that tobacco usage can lead to diseases such as lung cancer, COPD and emphysema, among others. However, as smokers experience chronic symptoms similar to those of PF, such as a dry, persistent cough, it is important they discuss PF with their doctors," Dr. Amy Hajari Case said in a foundation news release. She's senior medical adviser of education and awareness.

It's never too late to stop smoking, the foundation emphasized. Quitting smoking can increase overall health and quality of life at any age by reducing loss of core lung function over time and increasing lung capacity, which is crucial to maintaining a healthy blood oxygen level. Giving up the tobacco habit may also reduce inflammation of the airway, which can take months or even years.

Smoking isn't the only cause of pulmonary fibrosis. Other major risk factors include:

  • Work exposure to inorganic dusts, including asbestos, silica, coal dust, beryllium and hard metal dusts.
  • Environmental exposures such as breathing in mold spores, bacteria, animal proteins (especially from indoor or caged birds) or other triggers for an extended period. Doctors will listen for "squeaks" in the lung.
  • Older age. Pulmonary fibrosis is more likely to occur in those 60 and older.
  • Family history of interstitial lung disease.

© 2021 HealthDay. All rights reserved.

Posted: January 2021

Read this next

Menthols Lured 10 Million Americans to Smoking Since 1980: Study

FRIDAY, Feb. 26, 2021 -- Menthol cigarettes helped lure about 10 million extra Americans into smoking over 38 years, with often deadly results, according to a new...

Is There a 'Risk-Taking' Center in the Brain?

FRIDAY, Jan. 29, 2021 -- Why does one person take a lot of risks and another proceed with more caution? Researchers came closer to that answer with a new study that shows...

Women More Prone to Nighttime Cardiac Arrest Than Men

MONDAY, Jan. 25, 2021 -- Going into cardiac arrest at night can be particularly deadly, and now new research suggests that it might strike women more than men. Sudden cardiac...

More News Resources

Subscribe to our Newsletter

Whatever your topic of interest, subscribe to our newsletters to get the best of Drugs.com in your inbox.