Idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis (IPF) can be a difficult term to understand. But when you break it down by each word, it’s easier to get a better picture of what this disease is and what happens because of it.
“Idiopathic” simply means there’s no known cause for the disease. “Pulmonary” refers to the lungs, and “fibrosis” means the thickening and scarring of connective tissue.
Here are 17 other words related to IPF that you may come across after being diagnosed with it.
Dyspnea is the medical term for feeling short of breath. A sense of breathlessness, or shortness of breath, is one of the
This term means there’s a low oxygen count in your blood. The less oxygen that’s in your blood, the more issues your body may have when it comes to functioning properly. A variety of conditions can cause hypoxemia, but it can be
This is a small round formation in the lungs. People with severe cases of IPF
Although IPF is considered a progressive disease, it isn’t categorized into stages. This is different from many other chronic conditions.
HRCT stands for high-resolution CT scan. This test produces detailed images of your lungs using X-rays. It’s one of the two ways in which an IPF diagnosis is confirmed. The other test used is a lung biopsy.
During a lung biopsy, a small amount of lung tissue is removed and examined under a microscope. It’s one of the two ways in which an IPF diagnosis is confirmed. The other test used is an HRCT scan.
A condition similar to IPF. But cystic fibrosis is a genetic condition that affects the respiratory and digestive system, including the lungs, pancreas, liver, and intestines. While researchers understand the cause of cystic fibrosis (genetics), they’re still unsure about what directly causes IPF.
A pulmonologist is a doctor who specializes in treating lung diseases, including IPF.
When the symptoms of a disease get worse. For IPF, this typically means a worsening cough, breathlessness, and fatigue. An acute exacerbation can last anywhere from a few days to a few weeks.
Fatigue, or tiredness, of the
While researchers don’t know what exactly causes IPF, there are certain risk factors that can increase the likelihood that an individual will develop it. Some of these risk factors include:
- current and former smokers
- individuals over the age of 50
- a family history of pulmonary fibrosis
- air pollution
- certain viral infections
One of the
Sleep apnea is a sleep condition in which a person’s breathing is irregular, causing their breath to stop and start during periods of rest. People with IPF are more likely to also have this condition.
Because there’s currently no cure for it, IPF is considered a chronic lung disease.
A lung function test is a breathing test (spirometry) performed by your doctor to see how much air you can blow out after taking a deep breath in. This test can help determine how much lung damage there is from conditions like IPF.
A tool to measure the oxygen levels in your blood. A pulse oximetry test uses a sensor that’s typically placed on your finger.
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