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Posted on July 08th, 2020
Medical bills are only part of the total costs of pulmonary fibrosis. Additional expenses related to pulmonary fibrosis do not relate to the treatment itself, but they may occur as a consequence and include lost income, premature retirement, caregiving costs, transportation expenses, and the cost of lodging.
Although the causal relationship between asbestos exposure and pulmonary fibrosis has not been yet recognized, a series of clinical case studies found this disease highly prevalent among individuals with a history of occupational asbestos exposure.
Diagnosis of pulmonary fibrosis is usually made after excluding alternative diagnoses and considering symptoms alongside exposure history and radiographic features.
Clinical criteria for the diagnosis of an asbestos-related illness include:
More recent studies led the scientists to hypothesize that there may be cases of idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis related to exposure to asbestos. People who worked in construction, maintenance, heavy industry, were in contact with an extremely high concentration of asbestos. Pulmonary fibrosis typically occurs 10 to 40 years after the first exposure to asbestos. Inhalation is the only route of exposure which may lead to pulmonary fibrosis. Shortly after inhalation, the asbestos fibers which attached themselves to lung tissue start producing persistent inflammation and scarring, which will ultimately cause fibrotic lung disease.
Pulmonary fibrosis is characterized by progressive worsening of dyspnea and lung function, with a poor prognosis. The condition usually occurs in adult individuals of between 50 and 70 years of age, particularly those with a history of smoking along with asbestos exposure history, and affects more men than women. As the person's lungs become less efficient, any exertion, even just changing their position, talking, or eating might make them feel out of breath.
A large proportion of patients with pulmonary fibrosis will need hospital admission because of respiratory failure requiring mechanical ventilation.
In very severe cases, pulmonary fibrosis patients may be candidates for a lung transplant. The cost of lung transplantation is between $430,000 and $580,000 depending on whether the procedure involves one or both lungs.
In addition to general treatment, the patient may be referred to a specialist palliative care team or local respiratory service for treatment and therapy options. With an average cost of approximately $12,000 per patient, palliative care focuses on treating symptoms of breathlessness and flare-ups and other symptoms, including: