Worried About Idiopathic Pulmonary Fibrosis? What You Need To Know

What is idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis, or IPF?

What is idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis, or IPF?

There are some activities, medical conditions, and medications that have been linked to an increased risk of developing idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis or IPF. These include: smoking, certain viral infections (like Epstein-Barr, hepatitis C, HIV, and more), certain medicines, radiation, environmental toxins, genetics, and GERD.

How many people are affected by IPF?

How many people are affected by IPF?

Researchers have found that 9 out of 10 people who have IPF also have gastroesophageal reflux disease or GERD—a condition in which acid from your stomach backs up into your esophagus and throat. It is thought that some of those who have GERD may regularly breathe in tiny droplets of acid from their stomachs, which can, in turn, injure their lungs and lead to IPF. More research is being done to explore the date behind this theory.

What causes IPF?

What causes IPF?

The signs and symptoms of IPF develop over time, and may not begin to appear until the disease has done serious damage to your lungs. Once symptoms do occur, they will likely worsen over time. The most common signs and symptoms are shortness of breath and a dry hacking cough that doesn't get better. Shortness of breath is typically the main symptom of IPF. At first, you may be short of breath only during exercise, but eventually you'll likely feel breathless even at rest. The cough also gets worse with time, and ultimately, someone with IPF will have repeated bouts of coughing that cannot be controlled.

What are the top IPF risk factors

What are the top IPF risk factors

There are some activities, medical conditions, and medications that have been found to have been linked to an increased risk of developing idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis or IPF. These include: smoking, certain viral infections (like Epstein-Barr, hepatitis C, HIV, and more), certain medicines, radiation, environmental toxins, genetics, and GERD.

The GERD connection is large--affecting 90% of those with IPF

The GERD connection is large--affecting 90% of those with IPF

Researchers have found that 9 out of 10 people who have IPF also have gastroesophageal reflux disease or GERD—a condition in which acid from your stomach backs up into your esophagus and throat. It is thought that some of those who have GERD may regularly breathe in tiny droplets of acid from their stomachs, which can, in turn, injure their lungs and lead to IPF. More research is being done to explore the date behind this theory.

Warning Signs of IPF

Warning Signs of IPF

The signs and symptoms of IPF develop over time, and may not begin to appear until the disease has done serious damage to your lungs. Once symptoms do occur, they will likely worsen over time. The most common signs and symptoms are shortness of breath and a dry hacking cough that doesn't get better. Shortness of breath is typically the main symptom of IPF. At first, you may be short of breath only during exercise, but eventually you'll likely feel breathless even at rest. The cough also gets worse with time, and ultimately, someone with IPF will have repeated bouts of coughing that cannot be controlled.

Symptoms of IPF

Symptoms of IPF

Symptoms of IPF tend to worsen over time and may include: • Rapid, shallow breathing • Gradual, unintended weight loss • Fatigue or sense of malaise • Achy muscles and joints • Clubbing, which is the rounding and widening of the fingers and toes

Who is most affected by IPF? What is the prognosis?

Who is most affected by IPF? What is the prognosis?

IPF usually affects patients 50-70 years of age, and occurs more often in men than women—with a male to female ration of 2:1. Men tend to be diagnosed at a later stage in the disease. While research is being done into IPF, at present there is no effective treatment that slows disease progression. About two-thirds of IPF patients pass away within five years.

Diagnosing IPF

Diagnosing IPF

Idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis (IPF) causes the same kind of scarring and symptoms as some other lung diseases, making it hard to diagnose. It's important to seek medical help from a lung specialist as soon as you have symptoms.

Medical Treatment for IPF

Medical Treatment for IPF

While doctors may prescribe medications, oxygen therapy, pulmonary rehabilitation, and lung transplant to treat idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis; at present, there is no cure. The aim of treatment is to suppress symptoms to the best degree possible.

Lifestyle changes to treat IPF

Lifestyle changes to treat IPF

While there is no cure yet for IPF, there are things you can do that can help you to feel and stay better! 1. If you're still smoking, QUIT!. It's the most important thing you can do. 2. Get vaccinated against influenza and pneumococcus, which protects against infections that can be particularly severe if you have lung disease. 3. Staying active. Physical activity can help with both your physical and mental health, by helping maintain your strength and lung function, reducing stress. 4. Follow a healthy diet. A healthy diet includes a variety of fruits and vegetables 5. Eating smaller, more frequent meals may relieve stomach fullness, which can make it hard to breathe.

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