Idiopathic Pulmonary Fibrosis vs. COPD: Symptoms and More

Idiopathic pneumonic fibrosis ( IPF ) and chronic clogging pneumonic disease ( COPD ) are both chronic and disabling lung diseases that cause shortness of hint. however, IPF and COPD cause different forms of physical damage to your lungs. IPF is a lung disease that makes it hard to breathe. It damages the publicize sauk in your lungs, which send oxygen to the lineage. This damage causes the lungs to stiffen. It besides makes it difficult for oxygen to reach the blood. This makes people with IPF cough and get short of breath. In IPF, your lungs become marred, potent, and thickly, and the progressive damage is not reversible. In COPD, the airways, which are branching tubes that carry breeze within the lungs, become constrict and damaged. This makes people feel out of breath and tired. The two most common forms of COPD are emphysema and chronic bronchitis. COPD can be a dangerous illness. It can not be cured and can get worse over time. But there are treatments that can help.

Both IPF and COPD benefit from early diagnosis. People with IPF typically survive for 3 to 5 years after diagnosis, but some people live long. early treatment can help improve your choice of life. COPD is treatable, with normally better results if you catch it early. Survival times vary for both IPF and COPD, depending on :

  • the severity of the disease
  • your general health
  • your history of smoking


The epidemiology of IPF has been challenging to study as it is a relatively uncommon disease with evolving diagnostic criteria. Reported prevalence and incidence for IPF vary and depend on reporting methods. IPF is diagnosed more in men than women and is associated with advancing historic period, with presentation normally occurring in the 60s and 70s ; rarely is IPF seen in patients under 50 years old. According to the Pulmonary Fibrosis Foundation, there are over 200,000 U.S. cases overall ( with 50,000 fresh cases a year ). COPD is much more prevailing and is seen as a major U.S. checkup concern. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention ( CDC ) states that 16 million Americans have COPD, and the American Lung Association reports over 16.4 million have been diagnosed. however, COPD is often underdiagnosed, and the actual totals may be higher. According to the CDC, COPD is the fourth leading lawsuit of death in the United States .

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The causal agent of IPF is unknown, and the disease course is not predictable. In contrast, smoking causes around 85 to 90 percentage of COPD cases, and the course of the disease is well studied. IPF is much not diagnosed until permanent lung scar is introduce. many people with COPD have entirely balmy symptoms and are not diagnosed until their disease has progressed far.

IPF risk factors

Although the induce of IPF is unknown, several hazard factors for the disease have been established :

  • Smoking. Similar to COPD, IPF is often associated with smoking.
  • Age. Most people affected by the condition are between 50 and 70 years old.
  • Environmental exposures. Exposure to pollution and toxins increases your risk of IPF. Higher rates of IPF may be found in people with occupations that involve working around dust, chemicals, or fumes. Farmers are one example, according to a 2016 study.
  • Sex. More men than women are diagnosed with IPF.
  • Genetics. Having family members with pulmonary fibrosis increases your risk of this condition.

COPD risk factors

The risk factors for COPD are exchangeable to those for IPF :

  • Smoking. Long-term smoking is responsible for the vast majority of COPD cases. This includes use of pipes, cigarettes, and cannabis. Long-term exposure to secondhand smoke is also a risk factor for COPD. People with asthma who smoke have an even higher risk.
  • Age. Most people are at least 40 years old when they first notice COPD symptoms.
  • Environmental exposures. A 2019 report from the United Kingdom found that gardening, agriculture, painting, and working in a warehouse were some of the occupations associated with a significantly increased COPD risk. These occupations increase your exposure to substances such as dust, chemicals, or fumes.
  • Sex. In most geographic regions, men are more likely than women to develop COPD. However, a 2010 study suggests that women are more susceptible to physical damage from smoking.
  • Genetics. A rare genetic disorder called alpha-1-antitrypsin deficiency is the cause of about 4 to 5 percent of COPD cases, according to a 2012 study. Other genetic factors may also be involved.
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IPF and COPD share many symptoms :

  • Shortness of breath. A primary symptom of both diseases is shortness of breath, which gets progressively worse.
  • Cough. Both diseases involve a chronic cough. In IPF, the cough is a dry and hacking one. In COPD, there’s mucus production and wheezing.
  • Fatigue. Both diseases are marked by fatigue. This is because getting oxygen into the blood and carbon dioxide out of the blood is more difficult.
  • Changes to your hands. Both diseases can affect your fingertips. In IPF, your fingertips and nails may be enlarged, which is called clubbing. In COPD, your lips or fingernail beds may turn blue. This is called cyanosis.
  • Weight loss. When severe, both diseases can lead to unintended weight loss. This is because eating becomes difficult.
  • Chest pain. IPF and COPD can also involve chest tightness and swelling in your ankles, feet, or legs due to the strain on the right side of the heart.


There ’ s presently no cure for IPF or COPD. Treatment aims to relieve symptoms. If you smoke and you have IPF or COPD, considering quitting is an significant first step. Another recommended early footfall is removing vent pollutants from the home or workplace immediately. besides, solve with your sophisticate to ensure you ’ re always up to date with your vaccinations to help avoid outburst and complications from infection .


The lung scarring in IPF can not be reversed, but it may be reduced with the help of the prescription medications nintedanib ( Ofev ) or pirfenidone ( Esbriet ). Both dense down the declining lung routine associated with fibrosis. Most prescription drug medications for COPD dilate the airways, which makes breathing easier and less arduous. Bronchodilators can help relax the muscles around your airways. These drugs are used with an inhaler device and can be short-acting or longer-acting, depending on your needs. They can besides be combined with inhale steroids, depending on the severity of your COPD symptoms and total of COPD flares. oral corticosteroids are prescribed for short-run practice lone and are used chiefly for COPD and not IPF.

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Oxygen therapy

auxiliary oxygen from a humble portable oxygen tank car is used as a treatment for both IPF and COPD. The oxygen is supplied through a tube or a face mask and helps you breathe more comfortably while you sleep or carry out normal day by day activities. It can besides be used during exercise depending on your oxygen requirements .

Pulmonary rehabilitation

pneumonic rehabilitation is a group of programs designed to help you cope with IPF or COPD. It involves breathing and stress reduction exercises. It may besides include nutritional and psychological rede and disease management. The finish is helping you stay active and keep up with daily activities. If you have austere disease, you may need avail at home with your casual act .

Lung surgery

For those with either IPF or COPD a lung transplant is a possibility. It can extend your life, but it besides has risks. other surgeries can be used to help relieve COPD symptoms, depending on the type of lung damage that ’ s taken place. In a bullectomy, enlarged breeze spaces in the air out theca, called blister, can be removed to help you breathe. In lung volume decrease surgery, damaged lung weave can be removed to help improve breathing .


Both IPF and COPD are life threatening diseases, so early signal detection is key. If you have any of the known symptoms, get evaluated immediately. Once you ’ re diagnosed, sticking to your treatment design can help extend your life. This includes exercising as prescribed. There is ongoing research into finding new medications and possible ways of preventing both diseases.

There are besides early supporting resources available. For example, joining a support group can provide you with a space to discuss the challenges of IPF or COPD and find resources to help you cope. Support groups can besides alert you to any fresh developments in treatment .