Idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis (IPF) is a difficult term to understand. But when you break it down by each word, it’s easier to get a better picture of what the disease is and what happens because of it. “Idiopathic” simply means there’s no known cause for the disease. “Pulmonary” refers to the lungs, and “fibrosis” means the thickening and scarring of connective tissue.

Here are 17 other words related to this lung disease that you may come across after being diagnosed with it.

Breathlessness

One of the most common symptoms of IPF. Also known as shortness of breath. Symptoms usually begin or develop slowly before an actual diagnosis is made.

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Lungs

Organs located in your chest that allow you to breathe. Breathing removes carbon dioxide from your bloodstream and brings oxygen into it. IPF is a lung disease.

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Pulmonary nodules

A small round formation in the lungs. People with IPF are likely to develop these nodules. They’re often found through an HRCT scan.

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Clubbing

One of the most common symptoms of IPF. It occurs when your fingers and digits become wider and rounded due to a lack of oxygen. Symptoms usually begin or develop slowly before an actual diagnosis is made.

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Stages

Although IPF is considered a progressive disease, it doesn’t have stages. This is different from many other chronic conditions.

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HRCT scan

Stands for high-resolution CT scan. This test produces detailed images of your lungs using X-rays. It’s one of the two ways in which an IPF diagnosis is confirmed. The other test used is a lung biopsy.

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Lung biopsy

During a lung biopsy, a small amount of lung tissue is removed and examined under a microscope. It’s one of the two ways in which an IPF diagnosis is confirmed. The other test used is an HRCT scan.

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Cystic fibrosis

A condition similar to IPF. However, cystic fibrosis is a genetic condition that affects the respiratory and digestive system, including the lungs, pancreas, liver, and intestines. There is no known cause for IPF.

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Pulmonologist

A doctor who specializes in treating lung diseases, including IPF.

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Acute exacerbation

When the symptoms of a disease get worse. For IPF, this typically means a worsening cough, breathlessness, and fatigue. An exacerbation can last anywhere from a few days to a few weeks.

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Tiredness

One of the most common symptoms of IPF. Also known as fatigue. Symptoms usually begin or develop slowly before an actual diagnosis is made.

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Shortness of breath

One of the most common symptoms of IPF. Also known as breathlessness. Symptoms usually begin or develop slowly before an actual diagnosis is made.

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Dry cough

One of the most common symptoms of IPF. A cough that’s dry doesn’t include sputum, or a mixture of saliva and mucus. Symptoms usually begin or develop slowly before an actual diagnosis is made.

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Sleep apnea

A sleep condition in which a person’s breathing is irregular, causing their breath to stop and start during periods of rest. People with IPF are more likely to also have this condition.

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Chronic lung disease

Because there’s currently no cure for it, IPF is considered a chronic lung disease.

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Lung function test

A breathing test (spirometry) performed by your doctor to see how much air you can blow out after taking a deep breath in. This test can help determine how much lung damage there is from IPF.

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Pulse oximetry

A tool to measure the oxygen levels in your blood. It uses a sensor that’s typically placed on your finger.

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