September is Pulmonary Fibrosis Awareness Month and there are many people who have not heard of IPF (Idiopathic Pulmonary Fibrosis). After five years of intermittent dry cough, I was diagnosed as IPF in 2012 and started on nasal oxygen which I have used for the past seven years. Since IPF is a progressive disease, I am now 83 years old and in the final or terminal stage and cannot survive much longer. I have never smoked or used tobacco.

Pulmonary Fibrosis is more common in older individuals, especially males. There is a progressive scarring in the lungs with fibrosis which makes it difficult for the lungs to efficiently extract oxygen from the air. The patient experiences progressive shortness of breath. There is currently no treatment, but there are medicines which may slow the progress of the disease.

Air sacs in the lungs, called alveoli, get smaller and inefficient due to the overgrowth of fibrocytes. With emphysema or COPD (Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease), the alveoli are damaged and become inefficient because they are enlarged.

Idiopathic Pulmonary Fibrosis is more common in those people who have smoked or were around wood or metal dust. COPD is almost always tobacco related.

To learn more about Pulmonary Fibrosis, go to pulmonaryfibrosis.org.

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