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Idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis: a more common condition than you may think

25 March 2021
Volume 30 · Issue 6


Idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis (IPF) is a chronic, progressive incurable lung disease that affects a significant amount of people in the UK. Many health professionals have a limited understanding of IPF, which can result in a delayed diagnosis and inadequate care for individuals and their families. This article aims to provide an overview of IPF and help to enhance health professionals' understanding of the disease, thus contributing towards improving the care that IPF sufferers receive. This article provides a definition of IPF and explores its pathophysiology. It discusses the causes and risk factors for developing the condition, examines how IPF is diagnosed and details the treatment options available for IPF patients.

The COVID-19 pandemic has brought to the fore an increased awareness of respiratory conditions. Unheard of until a few months ago, SARS-CoV-2, the cause of COVID-19, has become renowned and has prompted a concerted global response to combating the spread of this novel coronavirus, with unprecedented resources being allocated for research and the development of vaccines in an attempt to curb the pandemic. The long-term ill effects of having had a serious episode of COVID-19 are not yet known, but there are early indications that scarring of the lungs is one of the complications. The irony of scarring of the lungs, known as pulmonary fibrosis (PF), is that it is a poorly recognised and misunderstood respiratory condition with variable access to support and resources. This article is timely as a reminder to nurses of the condition and to help consider the specific care and support that this patient group needs to be offered.

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