What is Pulmonary Fibrosis?
Pulmonary fibrosis (PF) is a family of more than 200 interstitial lung disease (ILDs) that cause inflammation and/or scarring of the lungs.
About 30,000 Canadians live with PF. Approximately half of this group of people have Idiopathic Pulmonary Fibrosis (IPF), meaning the cause is uncertain or unknown.
Understanding Pulmonary Fibrosis
What causes pulmonary fibrosis?
Pinpointing the cause an individual case of PF can be challenging. Known causes include: occupational exposures to asbestos and inorganic dusts, organic compounds (mold, bacteria…) some medications, autoimmune diseases such as scleroderma or rheumatoid arthritis, chemo or radiation therapy. Smoking is not a cause, but it is a known risk factor. Often, there is no identifiable cause.
What are the symptoms of PF?
Generally, a feeling of shortness of breath or breathlessness upon exertion is an early sign of pulmonary fibrosis, sometimes accompanied by a persistent cough. Because symptoms can develop very gradually, it can take years before other common respiratory problems can be ruled out.
What to expect as PF progresses
Pulmonary fibrosis is a chronic disease. It behaves differently for each individual. However, one can typically expect that once the fibrosis scars the lung, that piece of the lung is permanently damaged. Ultimately many people with the disease become candidates for a lung transplant. Medication, good nutrition and exercise and emotional support can go a long way towards improving the quality of life of people living with the disease.
More on What is Pulmonary Fibrosis
If you or someone you care about is living with pulmonary fibrosis this is a must-watch explainer video that describes what PF is, what you can expect and how to manage your disease.
This documentary explores the courage and resilience of people living with PF and uncovers the barriers to accessing equitable healthcare for treatment and disease management.
After complaining of a persistent cough during a regular check-up, 66-year old Zelick was diagnosed with idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis (IPF). Watch his story.
This handout for people living with IPF and their families provides information on what idiopathic…
This report reveals major gaps and disparities in care for Canadians living with idiopathic pulmonary…
Get patient-to-patient advice on how to manage and advocate for care for those living with…