Fibrosing alveolitis, also known as Idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis (IPF), involves scarring or thickening of the lungs. Doctors do not know what causes idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis (IPF) or why some people get it. Idiopathic means the cause is not known. The condition may be due to the lungs and autoimmune system responding to an unknown substance or injury. Genes may play a role in developing IPF. The disease occurs most often in people between 50 and 70 years old.
When you have IPF, your lungs become scarred and stiffened. This makes it hard for you to breathe. In some people, IPF gets worse quickly over months or a few years. In others, IPF worsens over a much longer time. Symptoms can include chest pain (occasionally), cough (usually dry), decreased tolerance for activity, and shortness of breath during activity (this symptom lasts for months or years, and over time may also occur when at rest). There is no known cure for IPF. Treatment is aimed at relieving symptoms.