Pulmonary fibrosis is an end state of a number of chronic inflammatory lung diseases. This is a serious disease process and patients are given little hope when the diagnosis is made. Chronic inflammation is always an immune mediated process. The key questions are what antigens initiate the inflammation? What factors perpetuate the inflammatory process over many years?
We will consider some obvious causes of pulmonary inflammation and fibrosis in occupational and farm exposures to chemicals and molds. A growing number of cases of PF are diagnosed in people with no obvious exposure to known causes. Airborne pathogens are ubiquitous, but are seldom identified in homes, retail stores, and urban offices.
See Rural Airborne Diseases Also see sarcoidosis See Airborne Fungal Disease
Food proteins are a source of perpetual antigens, but are almost never considered as potential pathogens. Three treatment options are
Remove the causes of lung inflammation
Suppress the inflammation with immune modulating drugs
Alter the host to be more tolerate of the causes
As soon as early symptoms of inflammatory lung disease are recognized or the diagnosis is made, the home environment should be thoroughly cleaned, inspected for mold growth and ventilation improved. Smoking, of course, is prohibited at home and at work.
Food and Lung Disease
There is a well known connection between food allergy and asthma. The connection to pulmonary fibrosis is less obvious. Hendrick and Bird considered the possibility that food allergy could cause inflammatory alveolitis in adults. In infants, the Heiner syndrome serves as a model of milk-protein induced pneumonitis associated with hemosiderosis. Infants with this form of food allergy are seriously ill and recover dramatically when feedings of cow’s milk proteins is stopped. They suggested a type 3 mechanism that initiates inflammation and reviewed the occurrence of alveolitis in celiac disease. We suggest that diet revision using the Alpha Nutrition Program should be part of the therapeutic strategy for chronic lung disease at all ages. Cow’s milk, wheat and eggs are eliminated from the diet long term. A new diet is created that is rich in plant foods, natural antioxidants, omega three fatty acids and supply optimal levels of vitamins and minerals. (See the Alpha Nutrition Program).
Hendrick DJ, Bird AG Alveolitis in Food Allergy and Intolerance. Brostoff and Challicombe ed. 1987; 498-510
Heiner DC, Sears JW, Kniker WT. Multiple precipitins to cow’s milk in chronic respiratory disease. Am J Dis Child 1962;103:634