Idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis treatment

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How it works

Consult with our health coaches who will learn about your symptoms, habits, and goals.


Take personalized home health tests to discover potential root causes of any symptoms or conditions you may have.


Review your results in just days with our functional medicine doctors, nurses, and dietitians who will help you achieve optimal health.

Learn about Idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis

Idiopathic Pulmonary Fibrosis (IPF) is a chronic lung disease characterized by a progressive and irreversible decline in lung function. The scarring of lung tissue associated with IPF leads to difficulty breathing and decreased oxygen delivery to the body. Despite its severity, the cause of IPF remains unknown, adding an element of challenge to its treatment and management. The prevalence of IPF varies globally, affecting approximately 13-20 per 100,000 people. It is more commonly diagnosed in older adults, particularly those above the age of 50.


The exact cause of Idiopathic Pulmonary Fibrosis is not well understood, hence its name—idiopathic meaning of unknown origin. However, several factors are believed to contribute to its development, including genetic predisposition, environmental factors like exposure to certain dusts or chemicals, cigarette smoking, and viral infections. It is thought that a combination of these factors leads to an abnormal healing process in the lung, resulting in the fibrosis (scarring) that characterizes the condition.


Signs and symptoms

- Shortness of breath, particularly during or after physical activity - Dry, chronic cough - Fatigue and weakness - Discomfort in the chest - Loss of appetite and unexplained weight loss - Clubbing (widening and rounding) of the fingertips and toes - A crackling sound in the lungs while inhaling

Diagnosing Idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis

Diagnosing IPF involves a combination of clinical assessment, imaging, and sometimes lung biopsy. A healthcare professional may start with a detailed medical history and physical examination, focusing on lung function and the presence of characteristic symptoms. High-resolution computed tomography (HRCT) scans of the lungs are crucial for identifying the pattern of fibrosis unique to IPF. Pulmonary function tests assess the impact on lung capacity and gas exchange. In certain cases, a lung biopsy may be necessary to confirm the diagnosis by examining the tissue for specific fibrotic changes.


Prevention and natural treatment

While there is currently no cure for IPF, a functional medicine approach focuses on slowing disease progression and improving the quality of life through natural and holistic means. Preventive measures include avoiding smoking, reducing exposure to lung irritants like dust and chemicals, and leading an overall healthy lifestyle. Treatment strategies in functional medicine might include dietary modifications to reduce inflammation in the body, such as increasing omega-3 fatty acids and antioxidants, while decreasing consumption of processed foods and sugars. Nutritional supplements such as N-acetylcysteine and coenzyme Q10 have shown promise in some studies for their antioxidant properties. Pulmonary rehabilitation exercises are recommended to maintain lung capacity and improve exercise tolerance. Stress reduction through practices such as yoga and meditation can also be beneficial. Remember, any treatment or preventive measure should be undertaken after a thorough discussion with a healthcare provider to tailor the approach to the individual's specific health needs and conditions.

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