Idiopathic Pulmonary Fibrosis (IPF)
Idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis, often shortened to IPF, is a scarring or thickening of the lungs, for which there is no known or identified cause.
|Idiopathic = of unknown cause
Pulmonary = of the lungs
Fibrosis = thickening or scarring of the tissue
This scarring makes it more difficult for your lungs to expand and for oxygen to move into your blood vessels and carbon dioxide to move out. This leads to symptoms such as breathlessness and tiredness.
It is thought that certain triggers may start the process of damage and inflammation. These include:
- Some viral infections
- Heartburn (acid reflux)
- A family history of IPF
Symptoms usually develop slowly over a number of years. The main symptoms are:
- Feeling breathless
- Dry, tickly cough
- Weight loss
- Enlargement of the tips of your fingers and toes; this is called 'clubbing'