Idiopathic Pulmonary Fibrosis or IPF is a chronic lung disease affecting approximately 30,000 Canadians; an estimated 5,000 succumbs to IPF annually. Lung tissues of people with IPF are scarred and will thicken in time. Scarring will likewise spread as the disease progresses.
Over time, their lungs wouldn’t transfer oxygen properly to the bloodstream, which will then lead to breathing difficulties and important organs losing the oxygen they need to function. Sufferers of IPF will experience dyspnea or chronic breathing difficulties, persistent, dry cough that lasts for more than a month, and crackling noises in their lungs that may be heard only through a stethoscope.
Diagnosis of IPF
Because symptoms of IPF are very similar to other lung diseases, there is no uniform standard for diagnosing IPF. Diagnosis involves a pathologist, pulmonologist, and a radiologist to rule out other ILDs or interstitial lung diseases with similar symptoms. Typically, doctors will assess the patient’s history, implement a physical examination, evaluate lung capacity, and inspect X-rays or other tomographic images of the patient’s chest. To rule out other similar ILDs, a lung biopsy, as well as a bronchoalveolar lavage (in some cases) will also be performed.
Therapies and Treatment of IPF
Unfortunately, IPF is still incurable and there are limited options for treatment. Normally, those with IPF are given drugs such as Prednisone, pirfenidone, NAC or N-Acetylcysteine, and Azathioprine whether on their own or in combination with one of more of these drugs. According to liferelayhealthcare.com,in Canada, pirfenidone is the newest drug approved for treating IPF. It is capable of blocking numerous pathways that are suspected of causing lung scarring.
Patients may likewise be required to use oxygen tanks to aid in managing breathing difficulties. In severe cases however, a lung transplant may be performed if all other therapies fail.
When taking medication for IPF, as with all drugs, note that there are specific drugs and medical conditions that may cause drug interactions, especially with pirfenidone. It is critical that patients who suffer from IPF tell their doctors about existing medical conditions if any and if they’re pregnant, planning to get pregnant, or nursing.