What are the symptoms of Pulmonary Fibrosis?

What are the symptoms of Pulmonary Fibrosis?

What are the symptoms of Pulmonary Fibrosis?

Pulmonary fibrosis (PF) is a chronic and terminal lung disease which disproportionately affects men, resulting in scarring and thickening of the tissue around the lungs, which inevitably leads to serious breathing issues.

The causes of PF still remain poorly understood, although much of the recent research links a higher-risk of developing the condition to a combination of factors between lifestyle and occupation.

Further research is also being undertaken to look at the association between pulmonary fibrosis and the MUC5B gene, which will hopefully lead to the development of early diagnostics and more effective treatments.

It is estimated that that around 30,000 people in the United Kingdom are living with with idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis, and of those it cruelly kills up to 5,000 each year – whilst another 6,000 are newly diagnosed with the condition during the same period. Considering PF remains a broadly unknown disease amongst the wider public, these really are quite staggering figures.


  • Shortness of breath. Initially only when you are active, and then it later develops to when you are resting also
  • A persistent, hacking, dry cough
  • Tiredness/lethargy
  • A loss of appetite/weight
  • Aching joints and muscles
  • This is a condition whereby your fingertips and or toe-tips bulge, caused by increased fluid pooled at the ends of soft tissue in your digits.

Who is most at risk?

  • Men
  • Those over 60 years old
  • Smokers or former smokers
  • Individuals who work or live (or have worked and lived) in an environment where you are breathing in harmful dust or chemicals.

What should I do if I have been diagnosed?

The first thing you should do is join a local support group, which are free to join. Action For Pulmonary Fibrosis run support groups nationwide which provide emotional support, practical information and general signposting advice not just for patients but also carers, families and friends too.

These vital support groups can be accessed and directly contacted online, or by calling the Action for Pulmonary Fibrosis information line on 01733 839642.

If you suspect that your current or former occupation has contributed to your PF diagnosis, then you should seek legal advice to assess your options. It is possible that you could raise a civil claim for financial compensation for pain and suffering, along with all of your medical fees and rehabilitation costs.

Fortunately, some solicitors in the UK will run these specific claims upon a ‘no-win, no-fee’ basis, meaning that anyone can gain access to justice without any financial risk to themselves or their families, and not just those who can afford it.

Further reading

Pulmonary fibrosis FAQ – Oakwood Solicitors

Respiratory disease claims – Oakwood Solicitors


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About the author
Jason Spence is a former client servicing manager of a major UK wholesaler spending over a decade as a customer service specialist. He then progressed into sales, initially selling utilities before moving into the funeral services industry. Jason joined Oakwood Solicitors in September 2022 as a business development executive where he now grows client relationships...