Idiopathic Pulmonary Fibrosis
DefinitionIdiopathic pulmonary fibrosis (IPF) is a chronic disease. It causes inflammation and fibrosis (scarring) of tissue in the lungs. It occurs most often in people aged 50-70.There are various types with similar symptoms, but different response to treatment and outcomes.
CausesIdiopathic means the cause is not known.Researchers think that IPF is an exaggerated and uncontrolled inflammatory response. This produces the scar tissue. What starts the cycle is not known. Over time, scarring surrounds the thin walled air sacs in the lungs. This makes the tissue thicker and stiffer. As a result, breathing becomes difficult. The lungs gradually lose their ability to pass oxygen to the rest of the body.
|Copyright © Nucleus Medical Media, Inc.|
Risk FactorsIPFoccurs most often in males and people aged 50 and older. Other factors that may increase your chance of IPF include:
- Cigarette smoking
- Viral infection
- Occupational exposures to dusts containing wood, metal, silica, bacteria, and animal proteins or to aerosol sprays, gases and fumes
- Medications such as nitrofurantoin, sulfasalazine, amiodarone, propranolol, methotrexate, cyclophosphamide, bleomycin
- Gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD)
- Other family members with IPF
SymptomsOver time, the symptoms get worse. This makes daily activities difficult. People with IPF gradually start to have some or all of these symptoms:
- Shortness of breath, at first only during or after physical activity, but later also when resting
- Dry cough
- Gradual weight loss
- Clubbing (enlargement of the fingertips or sometimes the toes)
More from Beliefnet
A randomized trial found that fecal microbiota transplantation had a higher rate of remission in patients with active ulcerative colitis than those who recieved placebo. Fecal transplantation is believed to help the intestine develop a healthy balance of bacteria in the gut which can help the intestine recover and function more effectively.
Exercise Associated with Healthy Baby Weight
Mindful Meditation May Reduce Symptoms and Complications of Insomnia
Chewing Gum After Surgery May Improve Digestive Tract Recovery