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Idiopathic Pulmonary Fibrosis: Symptoms, Causes & Treatment

Idiopathic Pulmonary Fibrosis: Symptoms, Causes & Treatment

Idiopathic Pulmonary Fibrosis

What is Idiopathic Pulmonary Fibrosis?

Idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis (IPF) refers to the development of scar tissue inside your lungs. (x) When you inhale, oxygen enters your lungs and becomes absorbed into the bloodstream, where it travels to different organs in your body. The thickness of the scar tissue caused by idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis makes the oxygen move slower from the lungs and into your bloodstream.

Idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis makes it more difficult for your body organs to function. Also, the thick scar tissue on your lungs, which develops because of IPF, makes it increasingly difficult to breathe. Unfortunately, IPF does not have any known cure, (x) though some medications and supplements can minimize damage to the lungs by slowing down the growth of scar tissue.

In many cases, sadly, the symptoms of IPF do not get better. Also, the outlook is different depending on the patient — some will experience deterioration faster while others. You may live with the condition for even a decade after diagnosis. As a last resort, and sometimes the best solution for some people is a lung transplant. (x)

Idiopathic Pulmonary Fibrosis Symptoms

It is possible for you to have pulmonary fibrosis for years without noticing any symptoms. However, the symptoms of IPF often become worse with time, and you may notice: (x)

  • A dry cough that will not go away
  • Get tired easily
  • Weight loss
  • Fatigue
  • Joint and muscle aches
  • Your fingers and toes become wider, especially on their tips
  • Shortness of breath after short physical activity

IPF is difficult to diagnose because its symptoms are not specific and may look similar to other diseases. In fact, 5 percent of patients with IPF may not even have any symptoms, (x) and doctors often “stumble upon” the disease when examining patients for other diseases. However, most people with this condition may experience shortness of breath and a dry, hacking cough for about six months.

Causes of Idiopathic Pulmonary Fibrosis

Some people contract pulmonary fibrosis because of exposure to some environmental elements, including pollution, medication and other infectious substances. However, in most cases, doctors rarely know the exact reason or circumstance that caused the idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis. (x)

  1. Risk Factors

Pulmonary fibrosis can affect anyone, though many patients with the condition are between 50 and 75 years old. (x) Also, this condition is more prevalent in men than in women, and doctors often diagnose men when the disease is at a more advanced stage. Other risk factors include:

  1. Genetics

Research shows that some families are more susceptible to contracting IPF than others. (x) In the case of familial IPF, people with close relatives who have the disease are more likely to have it at some stage in their lives.

  1. Smoking

Experts believe there is a link between smoking and IPF. Moreover, people with hepatitis, herpes and Epstein-Barr virus have a higher risk of contracting pulmonary fibrosis. (x)

  1. GERD

Having gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD) also increases the risk of pulmonary fibrosis. (x) Experts suspect GERD may cause patients to inhale tiny drops of stomach acid that may cause the development of scar tissue with time. Taking supplements to alleviate GERD symptoms may prove fruitful for you by easing the stomach problems and preventing IPF.

  1. Working with Wood or Metal

The risk of IPF is also higher if you breathe in lots of particulates at work, including wood or metal dust. Consider wearing appropriate gear for safety, such as masks, goggles and gloves. (x)

Idiopathic Pulmonary Fibrosis Diagnosis

Telling idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis apart from other lung conditions is often difficult because they share the same symptoms. Getting the correct diagnosis may take some time and multiple visits to the doctor. However, you may want to consider changing the way you live, too, as a preventative measure. Continuing a healthy lifestyle keeps your immune system strong with less stress affecting your body. 

Medical History

If you have been having trouble breathing for a prolonged period, consider seeing a doctor. The doctor will examine you and ask you a few questions to establish your medical history. Some things your doctor may want to establish include: (x)

  • How long you have been experiencing the complication
  • If you smoke or have ever smoked
  • If you work with chemicals
  • If you have a family history of IPF
  • Whether you have any other lung or health complications or not
  • If you have hepatitis, HIV, flu or Epstein-Barr virus

Diagnostic Tests

The doctor is likely to perform additional tests to confirm the diagnosis. Standard tests for pulmonary fibrosis include: (x)

  1. Chest X-rays 

X-rays of your chest help the doctor to obtain images of your lungs, seeing if there is any scarring. (x)

  1. Exercise Test 

The healthcare provider asks the patient to walk on a treadmill or do any other physical activity to check for oxygen levels in the blood through a probe attached to the fingertip or forehead

  1. Computed High Resolution Tomography or High-Resolution CT Scans (HRCT)

These scans provide detailed images of the lungs — this test helps to determine the severity and cause of IPF

  1. Biopsy

A biopsy involves removing small tissues of the lungs and examining them under a microscope with the aid of a device known as a bronchoscope or a special fluid to wash down the lungs and collect tissues for study (x)

  1. Pulse Oximetry 

A quick test for measuring your oxygen levels in the lungs is pulse Oximetry. Most doctors have the test performed if you have respiratory health concerns, such as flu, bronchitis and Covid-19. It tells the doctor how much oxygen your body is producing in the lungs in a matter of moments. If it’s low, it means more tests to determine the cause of the low oxygen percentage.

  1. Spirometry

Known as a standard test to see how well your lungs work, Spirometry helps determine if your lungs are operating as usual. It’s a good test to take if you have a history of smoking or other environmental circumstances, such as asthma, that could have harmed your lungs. (x)

  1. Multiple Tests for IPF Diagnosis

However, no single test can diagnose pulmonary fibrosis. (x) In fact, your doctor may order lab tests only to exclude other medical conditions with similar symptoms. And even then, close to a third of patients with IPF may have positive tests for rheumatoid factor and antinuclear antibodies. (x) Rheumatoid factor relates to immune system protein attacking healthy body cells. High levels in your blood indicate an autoimmune condition like rheumatoid arthritis. (x) Antinuclear antibodies attack antibodies in protein located in the nucleus of cells, including rheumatic diseases like Lupus and non-rheumatic diseases like autoimmune liver diseases. (x)Although high resolution computed tomography (HRCT) helps diagnose lung disorders because of its sensitivity, it does not provide definite tests for IPF. On the other hand, pulmonary function tests can provide helpful information that can help diagnose IPF, especially when done repeatedly for about six months or longer. (x)

Idiopathic Pulmonary Fibrosis Symptoms

Idiopathic Pulmonary Fibrosis Remedies

Although no medication can cure pulmonary fibrosis, some drugs may help you breathe easier. (x) Other drugs can help prevent the scar tissue inside the lungs from spreading or becoming more extensive. A doctor may recommend:

  1. Medication

Nintedanib and pirfenidone slow down scarring and damage to lung tissues. (x)

  1. Oxygen Therapy

Oxygen therapy involves breathing oxygen through a mask or prongs. (x) This treatment option helps increase blood oxygen levels so that patients can continue with everyday activities without experiencing shortness of breath. The intensity or frequency of oxygen therapy depends on the severity of your condition. Some people require oxygen 24/7, while others need it only when they sleep or exercise.

  1. Pulmonary Rehabilitation

Pulmonary rehabilitation is another treatment option for pulmonary fibrosis. It involves working with doctors, nurses, and therapists to find ways to manage or improve your symptoms. These health professionals often ask patients to save energy, relax, eat healthily and relieve stress. (x)

  1. Lung Transplant

Doctors recommend this treatment option to people whose condition is severe, with no signs of improvement. A lung transplant is a major surgery that can help you live longer. (x)

If you fit the criteria for a lung transplant, you go on a waiting list for a lung from a donor. Once you get a lung from a donor, doctors will prepare you for lung transplant surgery before doing the procedure. After the transplant, you may have to stay in the hospital for about a month or longer. To prevent your body from rejecting the new organ, you may have to take medication for the rest of your life. In addition, you will have several tests to see if the new lung works correctly. (x)

Supplements for Minimizing Idiopathic Pulmonary Fibrosis Symptoms

Ask your healthcare provider about taking any new supplements to prevent or treat IPF, especially if you are a risk. Some supplements include: 

  1. Pure Diindolylmethane (DIM) Powder

Made from a naturally occurring substance, the DIM supplement supports your immune health and metabolism. As a supplement, we recommend taking 100-200 milligrams no more than twice per day. Be sure to use a milligram scale to ensure accurate measurement. Speak with a doctor for supplementation instructions if you have liver or kidney diseases, cancer, and food allergies.

Do not supplement with DIM powder if you are expecting or nursing. Also, keep away from pets, including cats and dogs. Consider taking vitamin E or foods rich in natural oils to facilitate absorption.

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  1. Pure Quercetin Dihydrate Powder

Quercetin powder supports cardiac, lung, kidney and liver health. It is rich in antioxidants that help the body fight off infections. The safe dosage for this supplement is between 250 and 500 milligrams taken three times per day. Although this product is not highly soluble in water, it mixes very well with oils, such as coconut and olive oil.

Consult your doctor for supplementation guidelines if you are using vitamin C supplements, are on antibiotics, have high blood pressure, or have problems with blood clotting. The same applies to people who are on hormone replacement therapy because the supplement can affect the production and secretion of the hormone estrogen. Pregnant women and those who are nursing should not use this product. Unfortunately, this product is not available to customers in Germany due to import restrictions.

  1. Omega 3-6-9

Omega 3-6-9 is an excellent antioxidant for people with pulmonary fibrosis. It supports overall health, including cardiac and respiratory system health. It is rich in omega fatty acids derived from flaxseed oil, fish oil and primrose oil. The standard dosage for this supplement is three soft gels three times per day.

Side effects are not common; however, users may experience nauseaflatulence and burping. These side effects often disappear once you reduce the dosage. See a doctor immediately if you start experiencing swelling, itching or the development of a rash.

  1. Pure Ginseng Root Extract Powder

Ginseng provides an energy boost that enhances athletic endurance. For the proper effect, take 1,000 to 2,000 milligrams up to two times per day. Despite its health benefits, avoid supplementing daily for more than six months without resting. Side effects of ginseng include abdominal discomfort, mood changes, low appetite and insomnia. Therefore, it is best that the following avoid taking ginseng root extract powder: pregnant and lactating women and people with high blood pressure, cardiac conditions and autoimmune disorders.

  1. N-Acetyl L-Cysteine (NAC)

NAC supports liver and digestive health. It is also a powerful antioxidant that is rich in amino acids. The suggested serving size for NAC is 600 milligrams taken three times per day. Discuss supplementation with a health professional beforehand if you have diabetes or a cardiac condition.

Side effects associated with overdose include nausea, headache and vomiting. It is okay to mix this supplement with water or juice before use. Unfortunately, the Netherlands, Germany and Sweden restrict the sale of NAC.

  1. Glutathione

Glutathione has antioxidant properties that minimize aging and help the body fight off disease-causing pathogens. Take between 50 and 500 milligrams of this supplement per day. In addition, consider taking it with food to maximize absorption. This product loses its potency when exposed to direct light, moisture or heat. Glutathione is not safe for use by pregnant and nursing women.

Where to Buy Supplements for Idiopathic Pulmonary Fibrosis (IPF) Symptoms?

You can purchase these supplements for Idiopathic Pulmonary Fibrosis Symptoms at BulkSupplements.com. The company is an industry-leading manufacturer and distributor of pure dietary supplements. 

BulkSupplements.com is not just a consumer brand. It also supplies pure ingredients to other food and supplement brands to make their products. All products at BulkSupplements.com are manufactured and tested according to current and proper manufacturing practices.

Are you interested in trying any of these supplements mentioned in this article as a possible solution to helping you with Idiopathic Pulmonary Fibrosis (IPF)? Contact BulkSupplements.com to place an order today.

The Bottom Line

Idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis occurs when there is scar tissue in the lungs. While the medical industry doesn’t know what exactly causes the condition, there are risk factors associated with the health concern. (x)

Currently, pulmonary fibrosis does not have a cure. However, doctors can prescribe medication to help improve patient symptoms. Also, supplements may help your condition or prevent IPF from getting worse.

Take a look at your medical history with your physician and see if you are at risk of getting IPF. It’s challenging to diagnose without any indications you are susceptible to having health concerns. You may live a long time with IPF as long as you continue a healthy lifestyle.

These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. These products are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease.

 
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