September marks Pulmonary Fibrosis (PF) Awareness month, a globally recognised awareness initiative aimed at raising awareness about the disease, its symptoms and need for support.
The North Cumbria Pulmonary Fibrosis support group is open to patients, family members and carers affected by lung disease. They meet on the last Friday of the month 2-4pm in the Oxygen unit at Wigton Hospital. There is a group session followed by an informal chat and mingle. The sessions have included art and music therapy as well as visits from Fibrosis consultants and Action for Pulmonary Fibrosis.
The aim of the group is to provide a positive and supportive space for people to share their experiences and live well with Interstitial lung disease. Everyone is welcome, patients, carers, family friends and can just turn up or join via MS teams, contacting firstname.lastname@example.org for the link.
Alistair Frame who attends the group said “I attended when the group first started, however as I was still working it was difficult to go to every meeting. I have now retired and attend regularly. Meeting other Pulmonary Fibrosis patients and their partners has made me more aware of how others cope with this life limiting condition.
“There have been various talks and activities which I have found interesting. The staff that run the group are knowledgeable and very supportive. Overall I am grateful that the group is available and would like to think many more could attend in the future.”
Pulmonary Fibrosis affects around 70,000 people in the UK, with approximately 5,000 new cases diagnosed each year. Pulmonary Fibrosis describes a group of lung diseases that cause inflammation and a build-up of scar tissue within the lungs. This means it is difficult for the oxygen to get across into the blood stream, causing a drop in oxygen levels. As the scarring increases the lungs become stiffer and less able to expand which impacts on the ability to take deep breathes.
Symptoms include shortness of breath on exertion, irritable dry cough, fatigue, finger clubbing; rounded and swollen finger tips, a drop in Oxygen levels on movement and course crackles (Velcro sounds) when being tested.
Pulmonary Fibrosis is a life limiting condition and cannot be cured. Treatment depends on the type and cause of the disease. Patients are supported through the Specialist Respiratory Teams in CIC, WCH and the Community.
Pictured here are Alastair and Linda Frame