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What causes idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis (IPF)?

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IPF is when scar tissue grows inside your lung and make it hard for you to breathe. You might get it after you’ve been exposed to pollution, certain medicines, or an infection. But most of the time, doctors don't know what causes it. That’s what "idiopathic" means. You might be more likely to get IPF if you:

Sometimes, IPF runs in families. Doctors think defective genes could cause the disease in some people.

  • Smoke
  • Breathe in wood or metal dust at work or home
  • Have acid reflux disease

SOURCES:

American Thoracic Society: "Idiopathic Pulmonary Fibrosis (IPF)."

Cleveland Clinic: "Idiopathic Pulmonary Fibrosis."

Coalition for Pulmonary Fibrosis: "Facts About Idiopathic Pulmonary Fibrosis," "What is Pulmonary Fibrosis?"

National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute: "How is Idiopathic Pulmonary Fibrosis Treated?" "What is Idiopathic Pulmonary Fibrosis?" "Living With Idiopathic Pulmonary Fibrosis."

Pulmonary Fibrosis Foundation: "About PF."

News release, FDA.

Reviewed by Paul Boyce on December 11, 2019

SOURCES:

American Thoracic Society: "Idiopathic Pulmonary Fibrosis (IPF)."

Cleveland Clinic: "Idiopathic Pulmonary Fibrosis."

Coalition for Pulmonary Fibrosis: "Facts About Idiopathic Pulmonary Fibrosis," "What is Pulmonary Fibrosis?"

National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute: "How is Idiopathic Pulmonary Fibrosis Treated?" "What is Idiopathic Pulmonary Fibrosis?" "Living With Idiopathic Pulmonary Fibrosis."

Pulmonary Fibrosis Foundation: "About PF."

News release, FDA.

Reviewed by Paul Boyce on December 11, 2019

NEXT QUESTION:

What are the symptoms of idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis (IPF)?

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