CHICAGO, Oct. 10, 2018 /PRNewswire/ -- More than 200,000 Americans are living with pulmonary fibrosis (PF), a progressive and debilitating lung disease that leads to scarring of the lungs. The disease remains largely unknown, which can lead to later stage diagnoses. To combat this, the Pulmonary Fibrosis Foundation (PFF) has launched a new educational website at AboutPF.org. The site will educate individuals about this deadly disease and provide a downloadable Pulmonary Fibrosis Risk List worksheet to facilitate the conversation about symptoms and risk factors with a general physician.
"While pulmonary fibrosis is a very serious disease, many patients have never heard of it until they get the diagnosis," said William Schmidt, president and CEO of the PFF. "With 50,000 new cases of idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis diagnosed annually, and even more diagnoses of other types of PF, the importance of raising awareness is now greater than ever." Currently, there is no known cure for PF.
The Pulmonary Fibrosis Risk List downloadable worksheet provides insight to those who should talk to their doctors about this deadly disease. The worksheet allows patients to check off potential risk factors and symptoms to facilitate discussion with their physicians. If further action needs to be taken, AboutPF.org also offers a way to find a local pulmonologist through the PFF Care Center Network with experience in the diagnosis and treatment of PF.
Pulmonary fibrosis causes scarring of the air sacs in the lung. Over time, the scar tissue can destroy the normal lung tissue and make it hard for oxygen to get into the blood stream. Awareness of the main symptoms – shortness of breath, a dry, hacking cough and fatigue – are important to talk to a physician about. A thorough physical exam and further testing such as a pulmonary function and/or high-resolution computed tomography (HRCT) test may be necessary to help facilitate a clear diagnosis.
In addition to these symptoms, PF is more likely to occur in those that are 60 years and older with a history of smoking, and is more common in men. Additional factors put thousands of Americans at higher risk for pulmonary fibrosis. These include:
- Family history of interstitial lung disease
- Prior or current use of drugs that are associated with pulmonary fibrosis, such as amiodarone, nitrofurantoin, chemotherapy and methotrexate.
- Prior or current radiation treatment to the chest
- Significant environmental, occupational or avocational exposure to dusts, aerosols, microbes or chemicals such as:
- Indoor mold or water damage in the home or workplace
- Long-term exposure to indoor or caged birds
- Prior or current exposure to asbestos, coal or silica
- Diagnosis of rheumatoid arthritis, scleroderma, dermatomyositis or another autoimmune condition
Many people with symptoms but no risk factors are diagnosed with idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis, which means the cause is unknown. This is the most common type of PF.
"Individuals who are at risk or have symptoms need to be aware of this life-threatening disease," said Schmidt. "Taking the next steps with your doctor and advocating for testing to determine if you have pulmonary fibrosis is crucial so treatment can begin as early as possible."
Patient stories on AboutPF.org demonstrate the daily struggle for those living with this disease. To learn more, visit www.AboutPF.org today and download the Pulmonary Fibrosis Risk List or find a local pulmonologist.
About the Pulmonary Fibrosis Foundation
The Pulmonary Fibrosis Foundation (PFF) mobilizes people and resources to provide access to high quality care and leads research for a cure so people with pulmonary fibrosis will live longer, healthier lives. The PFF collaborates with physicians, organizations, patients, and caregivers worldwide. The PFF has a three-star rating from Charity Navigator and is a Better Business Bureau accredited charity. For more information, visit pulmonaryfibrosis.org or call 844.TalkPFF (844.825.5733) or 312.587.9272 from outside the U.S.
Contact: Rebecca Raudabaugh
L.C. Williams & Associates
SOURCE The Pulmonary Fibrosis Foundation