PREVIOUS QUESTION:

 

NEXT QUESTION:

 

What is idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis (IPF)?

ANSWER

Your lungs each contain about 300 million tiny air sacs that fill up with oxygen every time you breathe. In healthy lungs, the walls of these air sacs are very thin, so that oxygen and carbon dioxide can easily pass through them.

When you have IPF, scar tissue forms on the air sac walls and in the spaces around them, making them thick and hard. Doctors believe that the scarring is caused by something in the body that attacks the lungs over and over, but they don't know what or why.

SOURCES:

Coalition for Pulmonary Fibrosis: "Facts About Idiopathic Pulmonary Fibrosis."

National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute.

Pulmonary Fibrosis Foundation: "About PF."

American Lung Association.

Genetic Home Reference (U.S. National Library of Medicine).

Reviewed by Jennifer Robinson on April 22, 2018

SOURCES:

Coalition for Pulmonary Fibrosis: "Facts About Idiopathic Pulmonary Fibrosis."

National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute.

Pulmonary Fibrosis Foundation: "About PF."

American Lung Association.

Genetic Home Reference (U.S. National Library of Medicine).

Reviewed by Jennifer Robinson on April 22, 2018

NEXT QUESTION:

How does idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis (IPF) change over time?

WAS THIS ANSWER HELPFUL

THIS TOOL DOES NOT PROVIDE MEDICAL ADVICE. It is intended for general informational purposes only and does not address individual circumstances. It is not a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment and should not be relied on to make decisions about your health. Never ignore professional medical advice in seeking treatment because of something you have read on the WebMD Site. If you think you may have a medical emergency, immediately call your doctor or dial 911.

    This tool does not provide medical advice. See additional information.