5 Ways Idiopathic Pulmonary Fibrosis Impacts Daily Life


Idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis (IPF) is a progressive chronic lung condition that affects people both emotionally and physically. The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) held a patient-focused drug development initiative where people living with IPF could talk freely about the effect the disease has on their everyday lives.

Here’s what they said:

Work and Home Life
Many IPF patients talked about how their decreased physical function affected their everyday life. Many were unable to do the simplest of chores without needing to rest afterward. Cleaning the house, walking up stairs, showering and even getting dressed presented problems and led to depression for some patients.

Work and Careers
Patients are often forced to take early retirement due to the shortness of breath and fatigue associated with IPF, which can impact them both emotionally and financially.

MORE: Finding medical care for pulmonary fibrosis

People living with IPF are often forced to give up some of the things they enjoy doing as they no longer have the energy to continue with hobbies outside of the house.

IPF patients can often be afraid to go out in public in case they have a coughing fit. Many felt that they were viewed as “contagious” and people wouldn’t come near them. Coughing was cited by many as the most embarrassing part of the disease and they would often try to muffle their coughs.

IPF can be a lonely disease with many patients reporting the condition had impacted their relationships with family and friends. Socializing was problematic for many due to the physical restraints of IPF and others complained that they were not able to be active with their grandchildren.

Others were frustrated that because IPF is an invisible disease, people often don’t understand how ill they are.

MORE: Six ways to help you take care of your lungs

Pulmonary Fibrosis News is strictly a news and information website about the disease. It does not provide medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. This content is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or another qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition. Never disregard professional medical advice or delay in seeking it because of something you have read on this website.

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  1. JUDY KRASOVEC says:

    Yes many things one has to give up, but I try to replace them with other things , do more reading ,crafts(try to have things on hand) puzzles but that doesn’t replace the active things that you did before. Some friends have not been seen since I’ve been sick, I still can do lunches movies and that sort of things. Still love yard work and do most of it BUT at a much slower pace. Ha

  2. Marion Van Winkle says:

    My husband does most of the housework. I still cook and do the laundry. I can drive, do lunches, go to movies, and chair a committee at church. I can do anything where I don’t have to walk very far or be too physically active. It’s important to keep your social life going. I am in a choir. I just tell anyone near me when I cough that it is a dry, involuntary cough that they cannot catch, because it is part of a lung problem that I have. If they are close friends, I explain more.

    • Judie McDonald says:

      My diagnosis came as a shock to me. Have taken care of myself including all annual check ups. went to PCP’s office in August for dry cough and persistent mucous. He suggested over the counter allergy meds as I have allergies and assumed that was the problem.
      Fast forward to today, other symptoms prompted more tests. I will have Video-Assisted Thoracic Surgery soon.
      I also sing in a choir and will not be able to participate in coming Lenten and Easter programs due to surgery. So glad to see that you are still singing. My hope is that I can too.

  3. joan pashinsky-Greve says:

    my lung disease has really impacted my life i am 56 yrs old and i can no longer do the things i love such as horseback riding,or just taking a long walk with my husband, people take breathing for granted,but when this disease happens to you all
    you can do is go slow i am so grateful my husband takes care of a lot of the house work etc i still work but with great hardship i am not ready to give up yet. and please all that is reading this dont give up either, this week i have had 3 good days and i will take that. so that is what makes me want to go on and hope for a cure. i work in the research industry so i see hope in the future.. best of luck to all with this disease

  4. I was diagnosed with IPF in 3/17/16 I was living in VA. The pulmonary Doctor I saw gave me two years! I have since moved back to CA. I go to the gym with a trainer three time a week with my oxygen tank backpack. My pulmonary Doctor in Santa Barbara put me on Ofev one a half years ago. Last test was last week, well my lungs have improved slightly and I am feeling pretty good. There appears to be hope. Yahoo. Positive attitude and great care giver in my wife, and exercise make a big difference.

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