Idiopathic Pulmonary Fibrosis primarily affects people in their early 70s. Only in very rare instances will it strike anyone under the age of 50. IPF scars the lungs, so they become very stiff. This interrupts the supply of oxygen to the blood, and it gives rise to breathing difficulties. Doctors have not yet discovered its causes, but some suspect links to smoking, working in dusty environments and a hereditary element. The addition of the term "idiopathic" to the disease name indicates this absence of definite knowledge of what triggers it. Although doctors might prescribe medications to relieve symptoms, no cure is currently available.
An older adult who finds it hard to breath needs to consult their doctor if this situation continues for the best part of a month. Many of those in these circumstances might dismiss the problem by assuming it is just another of those unwelcome signs of old age. Alternatively, they might blame on the fact they have been too lazy to exercise regularly and stay fit. Yet nobody should feel out of breath while doing simple tasks around the house or walking leisurely in the street. Through blood tests, X-rays and other tests the doctor needs to investigate whether this person has developed IPF.
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