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Monday, December 9, 2013
Mom has pulmonary fibrosis
Mom was diagnosed with congestive heart failure and she was diagnosed with pulmonary fibrosis. Are these two illnesses linked together some how? She is tired all the time and once being an active person she tires very easily now. Dont know if this is from the heart or lung disease. She is 76 years old. Just diagnosed in Oct. We have no idea what stage her lung disease is in. She always has this fluid sound like congestion and shes always clearing her throat.
Congestive heart failure and pulmonary fibrosis can look very similar by chest x-ray and CT scan; we sometimes do both a supine (laying on the back) plus a prone (laying on the stomach) CT scan to help use distinguish between pulmonary fibrosis and heart failure. Although the two diseases are generally not related, there are some medications used in the treatment of congestive heart failure that can cause pulmonary fibrosis. One such medication is amiodarone.
Both heart failure and pulmonary fibrosis can cause similar symptoms (shortness of breath, cough, fatigue). One very important thing that you can do is to be sure that her oxygen level has been checked both when she is at rest and when she is walking - if her oxygen level drops, then supplemental oxygen can substantially improve her fatigue.
James N Allen, Jr, MD
Clinical Professor of Pulmonary, Allergy, Critical Care & Sleep Medicine
College of Medicine
The Ohio State University