6 Signs You May Be Suffering From A Rare Lung Disease

Up to 132,000 people in the United States, most over the age of 65, are affected by idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis (IPF), a rare and serious lung disease with an unknown cause. The disease causes scarring of the lungs, which makes breathing difficult. Because the symptoms of IPF are similar to more recognizable respiratory diseases like COPD, asthma and even congestive heart failure, patients are often misdiagnosed.

The symptoms of IPF will vary from person to person, but here are six signs and symptoms to look for:

1. Shortness of breath

Also called dyspnea, this condition will worsen over time as the disease progresses and can impact daily activities. Some patients may require the use of supplemental oxygen.

2. Chronic, dry, hacking cough

The majority of people with IPF have a cough that is typically dry and nonproductive, not producing mucus.

3. Crackling breath sounds

When listening to an IPF patient’s lungs with a stethoscope, healthcare providers hear what has been described as a Velcro®-like tearing sound.

4. Fatigue and weakness

This symptom is common in all forms of interstitial lung disease.

5. Loss of appetite/unexplained weight loss

This symptom is common in all forms of interstitial lung disease.

6. Clubbing of the fingertips

This symptom, in which the flesh under the fingernails gets thicker and causes the nails to curve downward, occurs in 25-50 percent of people with IPF.

Although IPF may be hard to identify, early diagnosis is important because IPF is a progressive disease, and sometimes the condition can worsen very quickly. While there is no cure for IPF, there are treatments available that may help slow the progression of the disease. The sooner you receive a diagnosis, the sooner you can work with your doctor to assess your treatment options.

For more information about IPF, visit www.BreathlessIPF.com where you can find educational information and resources to share with your network through social media channels.

Sponsored content by Boehringer Ingelheim Pharmaceuticals

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