Due to the stiffened lung tissues, lungs become unable to transfer oxygen into the bloodstream. This keeps the brain, deprived of adequate supply of oxygen. Sometimes doctors can determine the reason for fibrosis, yet often, they cannot establish the cause of this condition – such cases are known as idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis.
IPF is a chronic ailment which affects elderly and middle aged adults. The pace at which IPF develops varies individually. In some people, fibrosis grows very fast, whereas in others, it develops at a slower speed. In some people, the severity of the ailment remains the same for months or even years.
Even though IPF can’t be completely healed, its symptoms can be well managed with the use of medications. In case of a failure to begin the treatment timely, death may occur in 3-5 years. Respiratory failure has been found to be the most common reason for death due to IPF. Other reasons include lung cancer, heart failure, pulmonary embolism, pneumonia and pulmonary hypertension. Scientists believe genetics to be the leading reason for IPF. If more than 1 family member is suffering from IPF, the disorder is called as familial IPF. Years of study has created a lot of awareness in medical professionals about this disorder. It has enabled a quick diagnosis of IPF these days. Thorough research has also made some of the most efficient drugs available. These medications extend the lifespan of the patient and also help to improve the quality of life of IPF patients.
Idiopathic Pulmonary Fibrosis – Signs
Signs of IPF often show up gradually. Cited below are the signs of IPF.
- Shortness of breath, specifically while doing any kind of physical activity.
- Dry and chronic cough.
- Crackling sounds in the lungs that can be heard with a stethoscope.
- Clubbing (rounding of fingernails).
Treatment for Idiopathic Pulmonary Fibrosis
It’s quite challenging to diagnose idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis since the signs appear only after substantial harm to the lungs. The diagnosis consists of knowing a patient’s medical history followed by physical examination. Treatment mainly targets at subsiding symptoms and retarding the growth of the disorder. Various treatment options are available, such as oxygen therapy for patients with reduced oxygen content in the blood and the rehabilitation of lungs. Lung transplantation remains to be the only option if the disorder is severe. Abnormal breathing sounds can be easily detected with a stethoscope whilst examining the patient. The diagnosis is confirmed after certain examinations and tests such as chest X-ray, CT scan, oxygen levels in the blood and bronchoscopy.
Prescription medications such as Esbriet have proven to be very useful for treating mild and moderate idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis or IPF. Esbriet contains a key agent known as pirfenidone and belongs to a class of drugs called as anti-fibrotics. Esbriet works by lowering the creation of fibroblasts and other elements involved in the development of rough fibrous tissues. Usually, the treatment commences with a comparatively lower dose of Esbriet. Gradually, depending on the response of the person to the medicine, the dose may be increased. Usually, initially prescribed dose is 3 times a day with food. You must discuss in-depth about the benefits and risks of this drug with a doctor before you start the treatment with Esbriet. The health-care-provider will regularly do the check-up to monitor side effects, specifically on the liver. You must comply with all the health regimes suggested by the doctor during the treatment. It’s also essential to stick to the dosing instructions given by the doctor. If you have any doubts about the dosing, you must speak with your doctor.