Rare Disease Day 2022: Idiopathic Pulmonary Fibrosis

Idiopathic Pulmonary Fibrosis (IPF) has an estimated prevalence of 13 to 20 per 100,000 people worldwide* and is a condition that typically affects people between the age of 50 and 70.  It is rarely seen in those under 50 years of age.  Symptoms of the condition develop gradually and can include a persistent dry cough, shortness of breath, tiredness, loss of appetite and weight loss.  The cause of this rare disease is unknown, but it could potentially be as a result of prolonged exposure to dust particles, family history or viral infection.  The alveoli in the lungs become damaged and scarred, making them less flexible.  This makes breathing increasingly difficult as the lungs become stiff and unable to move air in and out as they should.  This then results in reduced oxygen saturation in the blood.

Treatment includes medications to reduce the rate of scarring in the lung tissue, and lifestyle changes, but there is no known cure.

Learn more at British Lung Foundation

*https://medlineplus.gov/genetics/condition/idiopathic-pulmonary-fibrosis/#causes Accessed: January 2022

We offer information on other rare diseases like our post on Cystic Fibrosis (CF) or read our guide on rare diseases.

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