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It always gets scary whenever we heard about a disease that has high probability of death as an outcome but, sadly, it may even get worse. What do you think of a disease that leads to death, has no cure, and no specific reason for its occurrence? That must be terrifying as someone has to wait for their death without being able to do anything, this disease is known as Idiopathic Pulmonary Fibrosis.
Idiopathic Pulmonary Fibrosis
A disease characterized by breathing difficulty due to scars that keeps growing overtime inside the lungs, usually appear in older ages (70+) and rarely appearing earlier than this (50+) and we can say that two thirds of the cases occur after the age of 60 and in males more than females.
Causes And Diagnosis
Idiopathic means unknown cause, so the reason behind the injury of the alveolar epithelium is unknown. And that makes its diagnosis is based on the exclusion of all other possible cases.
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Talking about symptoms may make the diagnosis even harder and delayed, because such symptoms can be seen with many other pulmonary disease. Those symptoms include:
- Dry cough
- Loss of appetite and weight loss
- Chest pain and shortness of breath
- Clubbing fingers: proliferation under the nail
Why So Dangerous?
As we mentioned earlier in the article that this disease has very similar symptoms of other disease, so it's not easy to differentiate between it and other disease. Also knowing that early diagnosis might not be so helpful as there is no medication to treat this case directly makes it even worse knowing that death is approaching while not being able to make any change which is enough to ruin mental health too.
Old people usually don't pay attention to their cough, they usually blame it on getting older or that their immunity isn't as good as it was when they were younger, that's why this disease is usually diagnosed late in addition to its late appearance and the time taken to diagnose it, that's enough to keep few years to live for the patient, and what I mean by few years is 3 years or less, sadly.
No way to survive it?
Well, the patient is left with 2 choices, or maybe one thing followed by the other.
The doctors will prescribe medications that's capable of increasing the quality of life, yet that doesn't mean delaying death, but capable of making the last years a little better to live than suffering through them. The other thing the patient might be looking forward to is lung transplantation, yet, it's not really that simple, that's why death is the more frequent outcome there.
In The End
Such disease aren't so frequent to occur like others, and many people die even before knowing that they have it, that's why they are less popular, and hard to be told about from someone outside the medical field.
Stay safe everyone, and thanks for reading!