What is Idiopathic Pulmonary FibrosisIdiopathic Pulmonary Fibrosis (IPF) is a progressive, irreversible chronic disease of the lungs. It is a type of interstitial * lung disease.
There are currently between 80,000 and 111,000 (1) people living with IPF in Europe. In people with this condition; lung tissue; which is normally thin and pliable, becomes thick and scarred over time. The formation of this scar tissue is called fibrosis. There is no known cause for this fibrosis and so this is categorized as ‘idiopathic’.
The disease is associated with a progressive decline in lung function as the scar tissue prevents oxygen moving properly into the bloodstream. As a result of this, the brain and other organs do not get enough oxygen, which leads to initial symptoms such as shortness of breath and chronic cough and can lead to respiratory failure and death. Other causes of death relating to the condition include pulmonary hypertension, heart failure, pulmonary embolism, pneumonia and lung cancer.
The condition is difficult to diagnose as initial symptoms are similar to other common diseases. IPF has no cure yet and difficulty in diagnosis and rapid deterioration in some patients means that many people live only about 2 to 5 years after diagnosis.
IPF usually occurs in adult individuals of between 50 and 70 years of age, particularly those with a history of smoking and affects more men than women. Approximately 30-35,000 new patients will be diagnosed with IPF in the EU each year.
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IPF World Week unites IPF patient associations, the medical community, and industry to fight this rare disease and drives national and international actions.