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Idiopathic Pulmonary Fibrosis – Overview

March 30, 2021


What is idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis or IPF? IPF is a lung disease of unknown etiology characterized by permanent and irreversible damage to the lung tissues itself. This is as opposed to a much more common conditions of COPD and asthma, which are diseases of the lung airways. IPF is the most common interstitial lung disease, which is a broad category of hundreds of different diseases causing damage to the lung tissues. IPS has specific anti-fibrotic medications for treatment. Therefore, confirming a diagnosis of IPF is of high importance and often requires a multidisciplinary approach with input from pulmonologists, rheumatologists, radiologists, and pathologists. What are the clinical features of IPF? IPF is a progressive disease that only worsens in severity over time. There's no reversing areas of lungs that is already fibrotic and scarred. Prompt diagnosis of this condition is important to try and preserve areas of normal lung. Patients will initially present with mild symptoms, such as a nagging cough that just won't go away. Sometimes a course of antibiotics will be tried to no avail. As the disease progresses, patients will then develop increasing dyspnea or shortness of breath with activity. How quickly a patient's symptoms progress varies. Some patients will have a very rapid decline in lung function while others remain relatively stable without a notable decline. Regardless, all patients will continue to become more symptomatic over time and life expectancy after diagnosis is estimated to be less than five years.

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