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Signs and Symptoms of Idiopathic Pulmonary Fibrosis

Idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis is an autoimmune disorder of the lungs that causes progressive scarring of the lung tissue.  It is a chronic, progressive form of lung disease where the cause is unknown.  Idiopathic primary fibrosis is seen most often in patients greater than fifty years of age.  It occurs equally in men and women.  We have put together a list of common signs and symptoms of idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis below.

Also, we have information on diagnosis, supportive natural therapies, helpful books and valuable resources for patients.

The Most Common Signs and Symptoms of Idiopathic Pulmonary Fibrosis include:

  • A dry cough
  • Shortness of breath that gets progressively worse over time
  • Fatigue
  • Weight loss
  • Clubbed fingers
  • Acing muscles and joints
  • A crackling sound in the lungs during inhalation

The most prevalent symptom of idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis is shortness of breath – first with exertion, and then during routine activities.

The scarring that occurs in idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis can’t be reversed, and there is no effective treatment for stopping the progression of the disease.  A lung transplant may be an option for some patients.

Diagnosis of Idiopathic Pulmonary Fibrosis

Diagnosing idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis is extremely challenging, as the symptoms of idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis mimic many other diseases, including asthma, bronchitis and COPD.  The most definitive way to diagnose idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis is through a biopsy of the lung tissue.

Books and Articles For People With Signs and Symptoms of Pulmonary Fibrosis

The Official Patient’s Sourcebook on Idiopathic Pulmonary Fibrosis
James N. Parker
Idiopathic Pulmonary Fibrosis Medical Guide
Qontro Medical Guides

Pulmonary Pathophysiology: The Essentials
John B. West
Idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis.(RESPIRATORY CLINICAL KEEPER): An article from: FOCUS: Journal for Respiratory Care & Sleep Medicine
Bill Wojciechowski

What is the Cause of Idiopathic Pulmonary Fibrosis?

When the cause of pulmonary fibrosis isn’t known it is called idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis.  However, there is a very long list of substances and conditions that can lead to pulmonary fibrosis. In most cases, the cause is never clearly determined. Researchers have several theories about what might trigger idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis, including viruses and exposure to tobacco smoke.  Because one type of idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis runs in families, heredity also is thought to play a role.

Idiopathic Pulmonary Fibrosis Resources

General Patient Resources

  • Pulmonary Fibrosis Foundation

Patient handbook, webinars and patient resources.

  • British Lung Foundation Web Community

Find community support and information on this forum.

  • Care Pages

A discussion forum for idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis.

Medical Resources

  • Medscape Reference

Review state-of-the-art treatments, trends and technologies.

  • Cleveland Clinic

Information on idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis including symptoms, treatment, and patient resources.