Pulmonary Fibrosis

Pulmonary fibrosis is a scarring of the lung tissue that causes permanent damage to the lungs. As the scar tissue builds up and thickens, it prevents the lungs from transferring oxygen to the blood supply and diminishes the supply of healthy, oxygen-infused blood to the heart, brain, and other organs. The reduced lung function makes it increasingly hard to breathe. While the condition may develop slowly over time, many die within the first three to four years following diagnosis. There is no cure for pulmonary fibrosis, but certain medicines and therapies can help manage the disease, and some people may be candidates for lung transplants.

There are many known contributing factors to pulmonary fibrosis, but determining the exact cause of the scarring can be challenging. For cases in which a cause cannot be linked to the disease, it’s referred to as idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis. Factors that increase the likelihood of developing the disease include a diagnosis of emphysema, a history of smoking, radiation treatments to the chest area, and exposure to harmful pollutants. As a person ages, the risk for building up scar tissue on the lungs also increases, and some cases are thought to have a possible genetic link.

UAB Pulmonary Services is ranked among the best programs of its kind in the nation, and our physicians are consistently listed among the Best Doctors in America for respiratory disease. We serve patients at our main campus and also at our convenient neighborhood clinics in Hoover and Gardendale.

Most UAB Pulmonary Services doctors are triple-board-certified in internal medicine, critical care, and pulmonary medicine. They serve on national boards and specialty organizations, speak at national conferences, publish in scientific and medical journals, and conduct research that is recognized nationally and internationally. Our physicians are continually seeking new ways to treat lung disease and improve the care for patients.


FOX 6 Medical Minute: Pulmonary & Thoracic Surgery
Medical Minute: Pulmonary & Thoracic Surgery
Barbara Frey- Lung Nodule Patient
Barbara – Lung Nodule Patient

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