Idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis (IPF) causes scar tissue to grow inside your lungs. Usually, when you breathe in, oxygen moves through tiny air sacs into your bloodstream. This oxygen-rich blood then travels back to your heart. From there, it travels to all the other organs in your body.
IPF scar tissue is thick, like the scars you get on your skin after a cut. It slows oxygen flow from your lungs to your blood, which can keep your body from working as it should. Low oxygen levels and the stiff scar tissue make it hard to breathe.
Recommended Related to Lung Disease/Respiratory Problems
If your doctor suspects sarcoidosis, he or she will do the following:
Review your medical history
Perform a physical exam
Order chest X-rays and blood tests that may aid in the diagnosis
In 90% of people with sarcoidosis, chest X-rays show abnormalities. Many patients also have a low white blood cell count. Your doctor may also order pulmonary-function tests, which measure how well your lungs are working. Tissue biopsies (tests on small tissue samples) from your lungs may be done to...
There’s no cure for IPF. The illness will have an impact on your life and your family. For most people, symptoms don’t get better, but there are new treatments that can slow the damage to your lungs. Everyone’s outlook is different. Some people will get worse quickly, while for others, the symptoms may stay the same for years. There are therapies to help you breathe easier and manage your symptoms. In some cases you may be able to have a lung transplant.
Some people get pulmonary fibrosis when they're exposed to something in their environment, like pollution, certain medicines, or an infection. But most of the time, doctors don't know what causes IPF. That's what "idiopathic" means.