Idiopathic Pulmonary Fibrosis: Symptoms And Treatment For IPF

Idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis is a lung disease of unknown etiology. It is characterized by scarring of lungs without an exact cause. Due to this the capacity of the lungs to perform its function is markedly hampered.

At least 30000 to 50000 new patients add up to the list of idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis every year in USA.

People between 55 to 75 yrs are commonly affected with idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis disease. Men and women are equally affected with this disease.

It is found that most of the IPF patients were smokers. There are no ascertained risk factors leading to this disease, but in many cases there is family history of lung scarring.

Idiopathic Pulmonary Fibrosis Symptoms

Symptoms of idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis appear gradually over a period of time.

  • Chronic hacking cough. It is usually dry in nature.
  • Patient feels breathless even after few steps.
  • There is a typical crackling and rubbing sound heard through the stethoscope.
  • Clubbing of fingers. It is a condition where there is rounding of finger nails.
  • In the later stage patient may turn cyanosed.
  • Fatigue
  • Loss of weight.

It is very difficult to diagnose idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis, a combined consultation of a pulmonologist and radiologist is necessary to diagnose IPF.

Pulmonary Fibrosis Diagnosis

Diagnoses can be made from physical examination, history and diagnostic tools.

  • Pulmonary function test
  • Bronchoscopy
  • CT scanning
  • Blood test for arthritis
  • Oxygen saturation test through pulse oxymetry
  • Surgical lung biopsy

Treatment For IPF

There is no permanent cure for idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis (IPF). It is an irreversible process.

  • There is combination of various modern medicines applied to treat IPF, but there is no promising result.
  • Yoga and other alternative methods for lung rehabilitation may benefit the patient suffering from IPF.
  • Patient having IPF should be careful and avoid acid reflux disorder so as to cause less damage to the already existing IPF disease.
  • Physiotherapy of lungs is beneficial.
  • Due to the irreversible damage to the lung tissue, prognosis of IPF is guarded.