This edition: Idiopathic Pulmonary Fibrosis
Idiopathic Pulmonary Fibrosis is a disease that robs a person's ability to breathe normally. The term idiopathic means "unknown cause", and "pulmonary fibrosis" is scar tissue in the lungs. Once the lungs are scarred, the condition can become irreversible, and interfere with the lungs capacity to transport oxygen to other organs of the body. IPF affects about 128,000 people in the United States with approximately 48,000 new IPF cases every year. It also contributes to about 40,000 deaths each year - a toll roughly equal to that of breast cancer. There are treatments however, and the goal is to offer greater hope in managing this disease. The only known cure today is that of lung transplants, an option for a small number of IPF patients.