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What is Pulmonary Fibrosis?
Pulmonary Fibrosis (PF) is a disease in which tissue deep in your lungs becomes thick and stiff, or scarred, over time. As the lung tissue thickens, your lungs can't properly move oxygen into your bloodstream and organs don't get the oxygen they need. There is currently no cure for Pulmonary Fibrosis.
Who is affected?
- PF is found in equal proportions in urban and rural environments
- Approximately 50,000 new cases of PF are diagnosed each year and as many as 40,000 Americans pass away from the disease each year
- PF affects more men than women and is usually diagnosed between the ages of 50 and 70
Who is at risk?
- People working or living near environmental pollutants
- Cigarette smokers
- People taking certain medications
- Those genetically pre-disposed
- People with gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD). Researchers have found that 9 out of 10 people who have PF also have GERD.
How is PF diagnosed?
No single test can diagnose PF. Your doctor may recommend several different tests based on your medical history.
- Pulmonary function tests can measure how well your lungs are woking
- High resolution computed tomography (HRCT) scans can show scar tissue and help determine lung damage
- Samples of lung tissue can show how far the disease has advanced and help to rule out other lung diseases
How is PF treated?
Doctors may prescribe one or more of the following treatment options:
- Oxygen therapy
- Pulmonary rehabilitation
- Lung transplant
Why is it important to learn about PF?
- The diagnosis of PF is on the rise
- Mortality rates for both men and women diagnosed with PF are on the rise
What can I do to reduce my risk?
- Be active
- Avoid tobacco smoke and other pollutants
- Manage other respiratory issues such as colds and allergies with help from your doctor