Letters to the Editor

Warns about rise of pulmonary fibrosis

I have Idiopathic Pulmonary Fibrosis. This is a disease that is 100 percent fatal for every patient. Have you ever heard of this rare disease? Did you know: 40,000 people will die from pulmonary fibrosis this year — the same number of fatalities as from breast cancer.

There is no known cause or treatment for pulmonary fibrosis, and the disease is relentlessly progressive; average prognosis is two to five years from diagnosis. Pulmonary fibrosis can be inherited, but most cases are idiopathic, meaning the cause is unknown.

Pulmonary fibrosis patients gradually lose the ability to process oxygen as their lungs fill with scar tissue and become like concrete.

Four times as many people have pulmonary fibrosis as ALS or cystic fibrosis.

Since 1999, the number of patients with pulmonary fibrosis has increased by 156 percent, to more than 128,000, and more than 50 percent of cases are misdiagnosed for a year or more.

A lung transplant is the only treatment option to extend life, but 50 percent of those on the list will die before receiving a transplant.

September is Global Pulmonary Fibrosis Awareness Month. For more information go to pulmonaryfibrosis.org.

Bryan Rehberger

Bellingham

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