Early Detection Matters: How To Detect Pulmonary Fibrosis Early

Pulmonary fibrosis is a life-long lung disease that involves scarring of the lung tissue. This scarring makes the lungs stiff, reducing their ability to expand and function properly, leading to breathing difficulties.

If you notice signs and symptoms of pulmonary fibrosis and would like to have schedule a consultation with our pulmonologist, contact us by visiting Doral Health and Wellness Pulmonary Center.

Detecting pulmonary fibrosis early is important for the early intervention and management. While in its early stages, pulmonary fibrosis may not always cause noticeable symptoms but certain signs and tests can help in the early detection of this condition. And they can include:

  • Monitoring Symptoms
    • Persistent Cough — A persistent and dry cough that lasts for an extended period, especially if it does not respond to common treatments, can be a symptom of pulmonary fibrosis.
    • Shortness of Breath — Gradual onset of shortness of breath, especially during physical activity, is a common symptom. Early stages may not always cause noticeable breathing difficulties.
    • Fatigue — Unexplained fatigue or weakness can be a sign, especially if it’s out of proportion to physical activity.
  • Medical History and Risk Factor Assessment — Discussing your medical history and potential risk factors (occupational exposures, environmental factors, family history) with your medical provider can help identify whether you are at risk for pulmonary fibrosis.
  • Physical Examination — During your physical examination, your medical provider may listen to your lungs for abnormal sounds, such as crackles or a “velcro-like” sound, which can indicate fibrosis.
  • Pulmonary Function Tests (PFTs)
    • Spirometry — Spirometry measures how much air you can inhale and exhale and how quickly you can do it. It can also help assess your lung function and detect  any abnormalities.
    • Diffusion Capacity Test — This test measures how well your oxygen passes from your lungs into your bloodstream, providing information about the efficiency of gas exchange.
  • Chest Imaging
    • High-Resolution Computed Tomography (HRCT) — HRCT provides detailed images of your lungs and is more sensitive in detecting early signs of pulmonary fibrosis.
    • Chest X-ray — While not as sensitive as high-resolution computed tomography (HRCT), a chest X-ray can show signs of lung fibrosis.
  • Lung Function Decline Monitoring — Monitoring lung function over time can help identify a decline in your lung function that can indicate pulmonary fibrosis.
  • Oxygen Saturation Monitoring — Regular monitoring of oxygen saturation levels using a pulse oximeter can help detect reduced oxygen levels, which can be associated with advanced pulmonary fibrosis.
  • Blood Tests — Certain blood tests, such as tests for autoimmune markers, can provide additional information. Elevated levels of certain biomarkers can be associated with pulmonary fibrosis.
  • Bronchoscopy — In some cases, a bronchoscopy can be performed to examine your airways and collect samples for further evaluation.
  • Lung Biopsy — In certain situations, a lung biopsy may be recommended to confirm the diagnosis and assess the extent of your condition.
  • Consulting a Pulmonologist (and/or Specialist) — If you have risk factors or symptoms that may suggest that you have pulmonary fibrosis, consider consulting a pulmonologist early on for a comprehensive evaluation.

Early detection is essential in doing appropriate management strategies, including lifestyle modifications, medication, and, in some cases, advanced therapies. If you have concerns about your lung health or are experiencing symptoms, seek immediate medical attention for a thorough evaluation and proper diagnosis.

At Doral Health and Wellness Pulmonary Center, we offer the best possible expertise and care in all aspects of pulmonology. Visit our pulmonologists to have your signs and symptoms checked. To schedule an appointment, you can visit us at 1797 Pitkin Avenue, Brooklyn, New York 11212, or call us at 1-347-384-5690. You can also visit our website at https://pulmonologistbrooklyn.com.