Pulmonary fibrosis, aka idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis (IPK), is an incurable lung disease, with a 3-5 year lifespan after diagnosis. This disease causes scarring in and around your air sacs for some reason that is not fully understood.
As scarring progresses, your lungs become thickly stiff. This sac condition makes it difficult for oxygen to get absorbed into your blood stream. Low or lack of oxygen creates serious problems for the rest of your body.
The most common symptom of pulmonary fibrosis is shortness of breath, aka dyspnea. Other symptoms include:
- fatigue, tiredness
- dry, hacking cough
- aching muscles, joints
- unintended weight loss
- rapid, shallow breathing
- clubbing ~ fingers/toes end enlarge
- malaise ~ general feeling of unwellness
The risk of developing pulmonary fibrosis is believed to be greater if you are routinely exposed to air pollutants, such as:
- organic dust
- inorganic dust
- gases and fumes
Coal miners, ship workers, road workers and sand blasters are especially vulnerable to this lung disease.
Certain viral infections increase your chances for IPF:
Some medications are on the list of possible instigators:
- amiodarone, propranolol ~ keeps heartbeat regular
- methotrexate, cyclophosphamide, bleomycin ~ chemotherapy, cancer medicines
- nitrofurantoin, sulfasalazine ~ antibiotics to treat urinary tract infections, ulcerative colitis, rheumatoid arthritis
The most common cause of death as a result of idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis is respiratory failure. Other causes involved are:
As pulmonary fibrosis progresses, oxygen therapy is used to help reduce your shortness of breath.
In an effort to avoid the dry cough, shortness of breath and clubbing of pulmonary fibrosis lung disease, pay particular attention to the air you breath on a regular basis. Healthy lungs are maintained with healthy air quality.