What are the signs and symptoms of scar tissue on lungs?

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What are the signs and symptoms of scar tissue on lungs?
Scarred lungs lose the ability to expand fully, resulting in diminished oxygen supply to the body. (thorax x-ray of the lungs image by JoLin from Fotolia.com)

Scar tissue on the lungs can occur from a variety of illnesses or injuries. Its symptoms often begin as a small cough or shortness of breath, though they can increase steadily to impact a person's daily routine. Scar tissue may be the cause of a more serious illness, and patients feeling symptoms, however small, should consult a doctor to prevent a potentially life-threatening disease from spreading unchecked.

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Reduced Energy Level

Scar tissue on the lungs reduces the organ's ability to expand and draw in more oxygen. As a result, when breathing is elevated due to increased activity or elevated heart rate, a person will experience a drop in energy level and tire quickly. This will be accompanied by shortness of breath and some pain as the lungs attempt to draw in more air to oxygenate the blood, but are unable to due to the scar tissue.

Dry Cough

The body will often respond to scar tissue with a dry cough that will produce no phlegm. A person with a small amount of scar tissue in his lungs will likewise experience a very mild cough, though it will worsen if scar tissue continues to form in the lungs and could lead to a potentially fatal condition if not treated.

Weight Loss

Loss of appetite may accompany scar tissue in the lungs. Patients that experience rapid unexplainable weight loss may have a more serious lung disease known as pulmonary fibrosis. This disease carries many of the same symptoms as scarring of the lungs (fatigue, cough, weight loss) but can progress rapidly, killing a patient before the severity of his symptoms becomes too severe to ignore.


A person with scarring of the lungs may develop wheezing. This phenomenon is a rattle-like sound in the lungs upon exhaling or during physical activity. As scar tissue worsens, the sound can grow louder and occur with more frequency as even the simplest of activities, such as getting out of bed, becomes too strenuous.

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