Idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis is a type of progressive chronic interstitial pneumonia, of an unknown cause. It mostly affects adults over age 65.
Some of the signs that a person may be suffering from this disease include: difficulty breathing, a hacking and dry cough that does not improve, fatigue, weight loss for no apparent reason, muscle and joint pain, and nail clubbing or digital clubbing (when the ends of the fingers and toes expand and the convexity of the nail increases).
The Technological Health Evaluation Institute (in Colombia) consider pulmonary function tests to be useful in diagnosing and determining the seriousness of the disease, and to establish its prognosis and progress.
The institute also explains that there is no cure for this condition and that treatment of it consists of alleviating its symptoms and improving one’s quality of life through medication, oxygen therapy, pulmonary rehabilitation or a lung transplant.
The causes of pulmonary fibrosis include environmental contaminants, certain medications or lung disease. A specific cause cannot be determined for most cases.