What is Pulmonary Fibrosis?
What Does "Pulmonary Fibrosis" Mean?
The word “pulmonary” means lung and the word “fibrosis” means scar tissue— similar to scars that form on the skin from an old injury or surgery. Pulmonary fibrosis (PF) is a process that causes lung scarring, in which fibrotic tissue blocks the movement of oxygen from inside the tiny air sacs in the lungs into the bloodstream. Low oxygen levels (and the stiff scar tissue itself) can cause people who have pulmonary fibrosis to feel short of breath, particularly when walking and exercising.
Interstitial Lung Disease and Pulmonary Fibrosis
Pulmonary fibrosis isn’t just one disease. It is a family of more than 200 different lung diseases that all look very much alike. The PF family of lung diseases is part of an even larger group of diseases called interstitial lung diseases (also known as ILD), which includes all of the diseases that have inflammation and/or lung scarring. In ILDs, it is the walls of the air sacs of the lung, and the tissue and space around these air sacs, where the injury and damage occur. Some interstitial lung diseases don’t include lung scarring. When an interstitial lung disease does include scar tissue in the lung, we call it pulmonary fibrosis.
Pulmonary Fibrosis and Interstitial Lung Disease Statistics
Causes of PF
Progression of Pulmonary Fibrosis
As the lung scarring in PF progresses, breathing becomes more difficult with increased demand for higher flows of oxygen. This demand for more oxygen may cause increased breathlessness, particularly with activity, and anxiety. Patients may also experience an increase in other associated symptoms as their disease progresses such as cough, fatigue, and deconditioning.
Find reliable information and trusted resources that can help you learn about pulmonary fibrosis and live better with PF.
Pulmonary Fibrosis Quick FactsThis one-page document provides quick facts about pulmonary fibrosis, including symptoms, causes, treatment options, and more.
Pulmonary Fibrosis Information GuideOur comprehensive guide provides reliable information about pulmonary fibrosis, the diagnostic process, treatment options, and more.
PFF Help Center
For those living with pulmonary fibrosis, obtaining the most accurate and current information can be a frustrating and challenging task. Let us help you find your answers.
Find a doctor or a PF support group
The Pulmonary Fibrosis Foundation is pleased to offer this search tool to help you find expert pulmonologists (lung doctors) and support groups in your area. Each medical center listed is an official PFF Care Center Network site, providing expert care for people living with pulmonary fibrosis. Further, more than 150 PF support groups are welcoming new members, with many of them meeting virtually. You may also join one of the PFF's four official support groups on Zoom.
To quickly find resources in your area, use the search feature below by entering your zip code. Use the checkboxes to filter results.
Please email firstname.lastname@example.org or call 844.TalkPFF with any further questions.