The Realities of a Pulmonary Fibrosis Diagnosis

There is no single test that will deliver a positive (or negative) pulmonary fibrosis (PF) diagnosis. Patients who present symptoms that doctors believe could be PF — shortness of breath, fatigue, chest pain, and a persistent cough — will have to undergo a series of tests to establish what the problem is.

MORE: 5 Ways to Help a Friend With Pulmonary Fibrosis

The difficulty in diagnosing pulmonary fibrosis is that the initial symptoms can mimic many other diseases — both mild and chronic. A pulmonologist will perform various tests including a physical exam, chest X-rays, a six-minute walk test to see how far you can walk in six minutes, a spirometry test to measure the amount of air you can exhale from your lungs, and a blood gas test to measure the amount of oxygen and carbon dioxide in your blood. In addition to these tests, a lung biopsy may be needed to establish whether fibrosis has occurred in the lungs.

If you are diagnosed with pulmonary fibrosis, the doctor will establish what stage the disease is at and you can then decide on appropriate treatment.

A pulmonary fibrosis diagnosis is difficult for patients to deal with. They will understandably go through a variety of emotions as they try to come to terms with the life-changing news. As our resident columnist Kim Fredrickson writes, they will have to face some tough realities.

Along with their own emotions, PF patients often have to deal with their loved ones’ reactions. Often well-meaning loved ones can be in denial about the seriousness of the disease, failing to address important issues and expecting that treatment will cure the disease and everything will be all right again. Some friends and family may even distance themselves from the patient, unable to come to terms with the diagnosis.

As there is no right way for a patient to deal with such a difficult diagnosis, there is no cast-in-stone way for our loved ones to deal with it either. Patience and time usually work wonders, along with a frank and honest discussion about what the diagnosis means.

MORE: 4 Breathing Exercises for Pulmonary Fibrosis

Lung Disease News is strictly a news and information website about the disease. It does not provide medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. This content is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or another qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition. Never disregard professional medical advice or delay in seeking it because of something you have read on this website.


  1. John Lee says:

    My wife suffers from “nonCF(cystic Fibrosis) Pulmonary Fibrosis”. It is a subset of COPD, we understand. Can we get some feedback from those who tried “Serrapeptasis”?
    Can we get some feedback from those who found some good result from any medicine and/or any alternative medicine/supplements.
    My wife tried Serrapeptasis(from 250,000iu to 40,000iu for two months) without any change/improvement. She is taking Dr. Grundy’s “Vital Reds”, “Heart Defense”, and “Primal Plants” hoping to boost her basic health. Due to constipation, we cut the dosage by half.

    • Nancy Trant says:

      I have a genetic form of Pulmonary Fibrosis; it has taken both my mother and my sister. I am using glutathione in a nebulizer and it truly does help. Glutathione was given to my husband in an IV for treatment of early Parkinson’s and it helped him immensely. It is an amazing immune system booster/tissue healer, and I believe it helps with inflammation in the tissues of the lungs and bronchial tubes. You can use it as often as you like – and it only takes 5 – 6 drops in the nebulizer for one treatment. It must be kept refrigerated and you would need to get it from your doctor or pharmacy. It is not a “drug” and won’t hurt you. There are other common-sense supplements you should be taking to keep yourself as healthy as you can while you are dealing with the lung issues. As for the constipation, please try just plain old magnesium – available over the counter. It is the “active” ingredient in Milk of Magnesia and is a mineral you need anyway. It will cure constipation quickly and the dose will be determined by how much it takes to bring about normal bowel movements. Too much – you’ll know it; not enough and you’ll need to up the dose. I wish nursing homes and hospitals would use magnesium instead of the Rx stuff. All the opioids given for pain cause constipation, and then patients are usually just put on more drugs with the vicious downward circle they cause. God blessings to you!

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