What is Pulmonary Fibrosis? What naturopaths can do to help this condition
Pulmonary fibrosis is a serious lung disease in which repeated injury to areas of the lungs results in inflammation and then scarring. Scarring, while helpful in other parts of the body to heal injuries, in the lungs has the opposite effect and stops the lungs from doing their job, which is to take in oxygen from the air we breathe and pass it into the blood. As the lungs get progressively more scarred, lung function is more and more impaired, making it difficult to breathe.
Pulmonary fibrosis can be caused by exposure to environmental pollutants, chemotherapy or radiotherapy, an infection that won’t go away, or various auto-immune diseases such as rheumatoid arthritis. And frustratingly, sometimes there is no apparent cause.
In the process of inhaling, the diaphragm contracts, pulling down. This changes the air pressure in the chest and causes air to rush in and expand the lungs. As you exhale, the process reverses – the muscles relax, the pressure increases, the air is pushed out and the lungs deflate. The alveoli in the lungs – tiny air sacs which number approximately 300 million – inflate every time we take a breath. It is these alveoli that are affected by pulmonary fibrosis – for some reason, a person with pulmonary fibrosis produces excessive fibrous scar tissue, which then causes the alveoli to thicken and stiffen, making it harder for them to expand and contract and provide the body with oxygen.
The most common symptom of the disease is breathlessness when walking up stairs or doing exercise that challenges your breathing. Of course, any vigorous exercise is likely to challenge the breathing – in part that’s why we do it – but if it seems excessive then you should always consult a doctor or naturopath. Other less common symptoms are unusual changes in the shape of fingernails and toenails, or a dry cough.
Naturopaths can see early signs by this development in the fingernails and indication from Tongue and Nail Diagnosis, Live Blood Analysis and Electrodermal Screening. If it is caught early, natural products can be taken and the environmental toxins is located and removed. None of the above development has to happen. Naturopathy is meant to be prophylactic in nature, i.e., all areas of natural health are looked at in order not to get sick and have an irreversible disease like this one. Natural remedies are the key to longevity and without them and the knowledge and technology that natural therapies can provide, there is no such thing as good health.
There is no known cure for pulmonary fibrosis. A specialist will prescribe treatment or medication to control the disease. The earlier the diagnosis though, the better, as damage to the lungs may be able to be lessened. One thing that’s clear is that anyone diagnosed with the disease who smokes should stop immediately.