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Pulmonary Fibrosis- Drug Today Medical Times

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 Pulmonary Fibrosis (PF) is a lung disease that can result in lung scarring. The estimated prevalence of IPF in the US ranges from 14 - 43 per 100,000 population. Although PF is commonly encountered in tertiary care centres in India, it remains under diagnosed at the primary care level.

In some cases, the cause of PF can be found. But in many of the cases, the cause of PF are not known. When exact reason of occurrence of any disease is not clearly recognized, the condition is called as “idiopathic”. Therefore, these cases are called idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis (IPF).

This disease is a family of more than 200 different lung diseases that all look very much alike. The PF family of lung diseases falls into larger group of diseases called the interstitial lung diseases (ILD). Some interstitial lung diseases don't include scar tissue as that of PF.

The symptoms of PF are progressive breathlessness and dry cough which is usually misdiagnosed with Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD) in smokers. Other symptoms which may accompany the conditions are fatigue, unexpected weight loss, muscle and joint pain etc.

Despite being well recognized in the West, the entity has still not received due attention in India, and is often lumped under the broad category of interstitial lung disease (ILD). The population prevalence of the disease in the country is not known.

It is speculated that it should be as prevalent as in other regions of the world. Among patients with diffuse parenchymal lung diseases, 29-48% patients had IPF in four studies from tertiary care centres in India.

Scientists have several theories about what might trigger IPF, including autoimmune disorders, viral and bacterial infections and exposure to tobacco smoke or environmental pollutants like inorganic or organic dust. Also, some forms of idiopathic PF run in families and heredity which points to a genetic predisposition in a subset of patients.

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