• 73°

WO proclaims September Global Pulmonary Fibrosis Month

By Dawn Burleigh

Dawn.burleigh@orangeleader.com

 

WEST ORANGE – The word pulmonary means lung and the word fibrosis means scar tissue – similar to scars one may have on one’s skin from an old injury or surgery. So, in its simplest sense, pulmonary fibrosis (PF) means scarring in the lungs. But, pulmonary fibrosis is more serious than just having a scar in one’s lung. In PF, the scar tissue builds up in the walls of the air sacs of the lungs, and eventually the scar tissue makes it hard for oxygen to get into the blood. Low oxygen levels (and the stiff scar tissue itself) can cause one to feel short of breath, particularly when walking and exercising.

Pulmonary fibrosis isn’t just one disease. It is a family of more than 200 different lung diseases that all look very much alike. The PF family of lung diseases falls into an even larger group of diseases called “interstitial lung diseases.” Some interstitial lung diseases don’t include scar tissue. When an interstitial lung disease includes scar tissue in the lung, it is called pulmonary fibrosis, according to Pulmonary Fibrosis Foundation.

City of West Orange City Council declared September Global Pulmonary Fibrosis Month during the Monday evening meeting.

In the proclamation read by City Attorney Rex Peveto, the proclamation encourages all community members to become informed and involved to fight to eradicate this serious disease.

Meritta Dawn Taylor, of West Orange, accepted the proclamation with her mother and sister.

The most common symptoms of PF are cough and shortness of breath. Symptoms may be mild or even absent early in the disease process. As the lungs develop more scar tissue, symptoms worsen. Shortness of breath initially occurs with exercise, but as the disease progresses it is not uncommon to become breathless during everyday activities, such as

showering, getting dressed, speaking on the phone, or even eating, according to Pulmonary Fibrosis Foundation.

The Pulmonary Fibrosis Foundation is a non-profit organization established in 2000 by Drs. Albert Rose and Michael Rosenzweig in recognition of the disease’s devastating effect on all families, including their own.

United States Congress supported the designation of “National Idiopathic Pulmonary Fibrosis Awareness Week” to take place each year in September in 2007 and is now expanded to a month of activities and events to help promote awareness and education as well as research and active participation in legislative efforts.