Signs & symptoms of pulmonary fibrosis

The classic presentation of pulmonary fibrosis is slowly progressing shortness of breath (“dyspnoea”) with a chronic non-productive (dry) cough. The shortness of breath is typically worse on exercise and exertion.

By James Heilman, MD
By James Heilman, MD

There are various other signs and symptoms though including:

> Fatigue & lethargy
> Loss of appetite
> Weight loss
> Chest pain
> Wheezing
> Low grade fever & muscle pains

Diagnosing pulmonary fibrosis

Various tests can be performed in order to diagnose pulmonary fibrosis, these may include:

Spirometry (‘breathing and blowing tests’): these simple breathing tests may show a restrictive pattern with a reduced total lung volume.

Chest x-ray: some signs may be visible on a chest x-ray or one may be performed to rule out any other lung disease.CT scanner

Computed Tomography (CT) scan: this may also be called a HRCT, or high resolution CT scan. A CT scan shows more detail than a chest x-ray, but may not always be required.

Lung biopsy: A lung biopsy is an invasive procedure and not always required if there is clear evidence of pulmonary fibrosis on x-ray or CT.