The symptoms of IPF develop over time. They may be very mild early in the progression of the disease. However, as more scar tissue develops in the lungs, symptoms worsen. How fast the symptoms of IPF develop may vary significantly from person to person. The most common symptoms include:
- Shortness of breath
- A dry cough that does not get better
Usually, shortness of breath occurs at first during exercise. As the disease progresses, patients may feel short of breath while taking part in everyday activities like showering, speaking on the phone, eating, or getting dressed.
Other symptoms of pulmonary fibrosis include:
- Unexplained weight loss
- Rapid, shallow breathing
- Clubbing: a widening and rounding of the tips of the fingers of toes
- Bluish discoloration of fingers or toes, caused by low blood oxygen levels
- Swelling in the feet or legs
Idiopathic Pulmonary Fibrosis may lead to or occur alongside other problems, including lung infections, blood clots in the lungs, and lung cancer. As pulmonary fibrosis becomes more severe, patients may develop other serious conditions, including respiratory failure, pulmonary hypertension, and heart failure.