October 30, 2017

Health Roundup: Lungs

'My mysterious, incurable lung condition was mistaken for asthma'

All the while, Phillips’s breathing inhibited his lifestyle more and more. Doctors had their theories, but eventually a CT scan revealed the true cause: Phillips had idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis (IPF), a vicious and terminal condition in which the lungs build up scar tissue, restricting a person’s breathing as lung capacity shrinks. Anybody, asthma sufferer or not, can get it, and there is no known cure, explanation, nor many effective treatments. Its existence baffles doctors.

Toby Maher, Professor of Respiratory Research at Imperial College.  "For sufferers of IPF, the scar tissue builds up and refuses to heal, so become constantly, progressively injured. It is almost a premature aging of the lungs, and we believe analogous to Alzheimer’s. With IPF, your lungs are dying and your breath is lost. But we don’t know why.”

Pulmonary Fibrosis Causes

Pulmonary fibrosis (PF) is a respiratory disease characterized by the presence of scarred tissue in the lungs. The disease starts to cause the thickening and stiffening of the tissue, which ends up turning into fibrosis and causing difficulties in the lungs to properly transport the oxygen into the bloodstream. The lack of oxygen is responsible for symptoms like shortness of breath, a persistent dry and hacking cough, fatigue and weakness, discomfort in the chest, loss of appetite, unexplained weight loss, and clubbing of the fingers.

Pulmonary Fibrosis Prognosis

According to the study “Clinical Course and Prediction of Survival in Idiopathic Pulmonary Fibrosis,” median survival of patients who suffer from pulmonary fibrosis is 2.5 years, but some patients live much longer than that. The most common cause of death among patients is respiratory failure.

Breathlessness and Cough Signal Pulmonary Fibrosis Years Before Diagnosis, Study Reports

University of Nottingham researchers analyzed symptoms in the medical charts of newly diagnosed patients.  A key underpinning of the study is that by the time a lot of people with IPF are diagnosed, the disease has already reached an advanced stage.  The team tracked all doctor consultations that the patient and control groups had for The team tracked all doctor consultations that the patient and control groups had for breathlessness, cough, fatigue, and weight loss. They also noted which patients had consultations for chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) or heart failure — because IPF is often mistaken for these conditions. They also noted which patients had consultations for chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) or heart failure — because IPF is often mistaken for these conditions...Early diagnosis of IPF can improve patients’ survival by allowing them to start treatment early.

Agonizing mystery lung disease twice more widespread than previously thought

The number of people suffering from an agonising mystery lung disease responsible for 1 per cent of all UK deaths is more than double what was previously feared, new research reveals....While some clinicians speculate that the debilitating disease may be down to a combination of genetic predisposition and exposure to pollution such as dust, no causal link has been definitively proved. The average life expectancy following a diagnosis is three years, although two drugs, each with significant side-effects, have recently come on the market which extend patients' post-diagnosis life-span by an average of two years compared to no treatment. Currently the only way of surviving an IPF diagnosis is a lung transplant.

People with arthritis are nearly 50% more likely to develop a deadly lung disease,

Rheumatoid arthritis is a long-term illness in which the immune system causes the body to attack itself, causing painful, swollen and stiff joints. The 400,000 people with rheumatoid arthritis in Britain, and 50 million in the US, are almost 50 per cent more likely to end up with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), according to the results of a new study.  COPD is a chronic inflammatory lung disease that causes obstructed airflow from the lungs and is the umbrella term for diseases from emphysema to acute bronchitis.  These are the findings of a study of almost 25,000 people with arthritis, monitored over a decade by Canadian researchers.

Taking a vitamin D supplement 'can halve the risk' of an asthma sufferer having a severe attack

The British study, funded by the research arm of the NHS, found people who took the daily tablets alongside their normal asthma treatment were 50 per cent less likely to suffer attacks so severe that they had to be taken to A&E. And they saw a 30 per cent reduction in attacks requiring treatment with steroids. Lead researcher Professor Adrian Martineau of Queen Mary University London, said: ‘These results add to the ever growing body of evidence that vitamin D can support immune function as well as bone health.

Posted by Jill Fallon at October 30, 2017 12:42 PM | Permalink