Huff n Puff Online Forum

What is IPF?

Home

Related Links

Join Huff N Puff

The Purpose of this site

Search the Web for IPF information

Huff n Puff Forum Archives

IPF Treatments

NO! and not likely. But then the results of that investigation are not entirely over as yet. 

The odds are not great that any individual will contract this disease. Most physicians will categorize this as a very rare disease. In fact it is generally accepted that only 10% of the population is a candidate for infection. However, if you are one of the 10% the odds won't really mean a lot will they?

There are several theories as to the source of such infliction. Recently scientists have discovered the gene thought responsible for an individual being a candidate for contracting ILD. 

The first one that comes to mind of course is "Smoking". ILD is very similar in a lot of ways to emphysema, which except in exceptionally rare cases (less than 1%) is solely and entirely caused by smoking. Even in those (Alpha1) types of emphysema many physicians dispute the theory that you can get emphysema without smoking. They maintain that if you are Alpha 1 type you will definitely get emphysema if you smoke unlike most other people who will not necessarily get emphysema if they smoke. 

Now there's a debate that will go on for years.

Overall there are two types of lung disease categories. Restrictive meaning something has happened to restrict the efficiency of the lung operations. The other is obstructive, which is something has happened to obstruct the operation of the lung. Though they initially seem to be identical they are in fact very different. Emphysema is an obstructive lung disease while ILD is a restrictive lung disease.

The explanations I have been able to obtain for these categories have a somewhat grey area to them. Restrictive was explained as likened to a shrinking of the air ways there by restricting the volume of air which could be utilized by the interstitium. Obstructive was described as likened to having a blockage of sorts. Though the lung and airways were capable of utilizing more air the air was blocked by an obstruction which prevented its passing either to or through the lung properly. 

The main difference I have been led to believe is that obstructive reduces the elasticity of the lung tissue allowing it to expand but causing it not to have the necessary property to return to its previous state.  Thus, preventing the patient from fully expelling the air they have inhaled.  

I envision it something like the elastic waste band of a pair of pants that has been stretched too far once too often.  Still has some give to it but not enough return to hold up the pants. 

Restrictive lung disease on the other hand results in the lung tissue becoming hardened or stiff thereby eventually preventing the patient from inhaling sufficient volumes of air necessary to sustain life.  In my mind I see this as akin to attempting to blow up a tire tube by mouth!

Personally I have difficulty understanding the difference between the two in all cases.  However those who are experts in this field have done so.

Therefore smoking, as such, is neither a cause nor cure in relation to ILD. One should not take this as condoning the use of cigarettes or smoking. 

In emphysema the alveoli break down until what was once millions of small air sacs is now one large air sac but without the ability to transfer gases to and from the blood.  

Large in this instance being smaller than the pointy end of a needle. 

In ILD the alveoli are damaged in such a way that they become hard inflexible and therefore unable to transfer the gases to and from the blood. 

If a healthy person were to remove all his or her alveoli and open them up flat. Then place them side by side they would cover the area of a football field. A person with ILD or Emphysema perhaps would cover a basketball court.

 previous page                                next page

Home



Warning Signs

Pursed Lip Breathing

Diaphragmatic Breathing

Help For Shortness of Breath

SOB Positions

Controlled Coughing

Tips For Living

Exercise

Pulmonary Rehab

Postural Drainage

Using Your Inhaler

Using Your Spacer

Flu Shots