Idiopathic Pulmonary Fibrosis (IPF), is a chronic lung condition where the lung tissue becomes damaged and scarred. This scarring thickens and stiffens the tissue, making it more difficult for the lungs to work properly. The damage and scarring of IPF is caused by an abnormal repair of lung injury. There are many risk factors for IPF, which include:
- Older age (over 60)
- Male gender, although both genders are effected
- Smoking, or exposure to secondhand smoke
- Exposure to organic or inorganic dust and air pollution
- Longstanding acid reflux disease (Gastro-esophageal reflux)
- Genes/family history
However, in most cases, pulmonary fibrosis is idiopathic, which means the cause cannot be determined.
The damage caused by pulmonary fibrosis cannot be repaired, but treatment can help relieve symptoms and improve quality of life.