Fibrotic Tissue Homeostasis

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Mr. L has pulmonary fibrosis, meaning a build up of scar tissue within the walls of his lungs. This build up of scar tissue makes it harder for him to catch his breath for a number of physiological reasons. Irritation of his lung tissue causes inflammation and then the build up of fibrous tissue. This makes it very difficult for him to maintain adequate gas levels within his body. Naturally, there is an anatomical dead space within the respiratory system where gas exchange cannot occur. This is at any point in the respiratory system other than the alveoli. When the alveoli become involved, all of these spaces are the physiological dead space. The increase in physiological dead space is irreversible, and causes prolonged effects including air…show more content…
The rate of diffusion is inversely related to the thickness of the membrane, so this will decrease the rate at which gases can diffuse in the alveoli. As the fibrosis worsens, gases will eventually lose the capability to diffuse across the respiratory membrane because of the increased thickness (Hall, 2016, p. 523). In the lung tissue, the elasticity is determined by the collagen and elastic fibers within the lung parenchyma. Fibrotic tissue is increasing the collagen (scar) tissue in the lung (Hall, 2016, p. 499). Constricted lung diseases like fibrotic diseases keep the lungs from being able to expand to their normal capacity (Hall, 2016, p. 550). This will lead to a decreased compliance and a reduced normal…show more content…
In the beginning stages of fibrosis, shortness of breath would not be noticed with normal daily activities because there is not an increased need for oxygen at the tissues or increased production of carbon dioxide. Mr. L would likely be able to compensate for the amount oxygen needed in regular activities without feeling short of breath because the thickness of the membrane is not yet extreme enough to affect the diffusion rates for normal activities. Unfortunately, even in the beginning stages of the fibrosis, because there is an increased need for oxygen at the tissues and increased production of carbon dioxide, the thickening membrane and decreased diffusion rate will make his body feel the effects. His muscles have an increased metabolism and are not getting the oxygen that is needed, nor is the body ridding itself of the excess carbon dioxide produced by the increased muscle usage. With increased levels of CO2 in the circulation and a need for oxygen, the body would signal him to increase the amount of ventilation (Hall, 2016, 543). It should be noted, though, regardless of lung disease, shortness of breath occurs initially with exercise. When the brain begins sending motor impulses to the muscles, research has shown that it also transmits an impulse to the brain stem to excite the respiratory center. Ventilation often increases before the
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