Our Services / Pulmonary Fibrosis

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About Pulmonary Fibrosis

Early treatment for pulmonary fibrosis gives you the best chance of slowing down progressive lung damage and protecting your lungs’ function. Fellowship-trained pulmonary specialist Joy Burbeck, MD, and the team at Midsouth Independent Group (MIG) in Memphis, Tennessee, have extensive experience treating pulmonary fibrosis and supporting your optimal health. If you have questions about your symptoms or need ongoing care, call the office or request an appointment online today.

Pulmonary Fibrosis Q & A

What is pulmonary fibrosis?

Pulmonary fibrosis affects the air sacs (alveoli) in your lungs, causing scarring that thickens and stiffens the tissues. The air sacs transfer oxygen from your lungs into your blood. They also take carbon dioxide from your blood and send it out of your body when you exhale. 

As pulmonary fibrosis progresses and the air sacs become increasingly damaged, breathing becomes more difficult.

What causes pulmonary fibrosis?

In most cases, the cause can’t be determined, a condition called idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis (IPF). Risk factors for pulmonary fibrosis include:

  • Smoking tobacco products
  • Having radiation treatment targeting your chest
  • Having a history of lung infection
  • Having an autoimmune disease
  • Being exposed to asbestos or environmental toxins

A few common environmental toxins include fumes and workplace dust.

What are the symptoms of pulmonary fibrosis?

The two most common symptoms are:

Shortness of breath

Difficulty breathing progressively worsens as the air sacs develop more scarring. At first, you may be short of breath when exercising. Eventually, you can have a hard time breathing even when resting.

Dry cough

This symptom also gets worse, progressing to cause repeated bouts of uncontrollable coughing.

You may have other symptoms, such as:

  • Fatigue
  • Muscle and joint aches
  • Unintended weight loss
  • Generally feeling unwell (malaise)
  • Rapid, shallow breathing

The lack of oxygen may cause the tips of your fingers or toes to enlarge (clubbing).

How is pulmonary fibrosis treated?

Your MIG provider creates a personalized treatment plan to slow down lung damage, support breathing, and improve your quality of life while living with an incurable lung disease.

Your treatment may include:


Anti-fibrotic medications slow or prevent progressive scarring and help your lungs work better.

Oxygen therapy

Taking in extra oxygen makes it easier to breathe, sleep, and stay active. Supplemental oxygen also lowers your risk of complications caused by low blood oxygen.

Ventilator support

Ventilation is a therapy reserved for patients with severe breathing difficulty because it involves hospitalization and using a machine that breathes for you. Your provider guides a tube through your nose or mouth and into your windpipe.

Lung transplant

Your MIG provider may recommend a lung transplant for severe pulmonary fibrosis. A transplant may involve one lung or both.

Getting early and consistent treatment for pulmonary fibrosis helps you live longer with the best possible quality of life. Call the caring pulmonary specialists at Midsouth Independent Group (MIG) or request an appointment online today.