Is the cough from Idiopathic Pulmonary Fibrosis (IPF) contagious?
Chronic cough from IPF is not contagious at all. It is one of the most frustrating symptoms of IPF. Please see the link to cough and IPF for more information. Chronic Cough in IPF
We continue to receive many questions about stem cells and IPF.
Stem cells are special cells that reside in your bone marrow, fatty tissue and in various organs of your body including your lungs. In health, these cells serve as a reservoir for maintaining the normal function of your body. In the lungs, these cells are responsible for maintaining a supply of healthy cells to insure your lungs function well. They may be important in repairing damage. At present, we don’t have any suggestion that stem cells are involved in IPF. However, there is great interest in studying if stem cells may eventually be used to treat IPF.
If you spend any time searching the internet you have probably seen advertisements for stem cell therapy for IPF. BEWARE, these are not approved nor proven to be effective by any scientific standards! They are the latest type of scam to take money from patients with IPF and other diseases who are desperate for a glimmer of hope. Don’t be fooled! Not only are these scammers going to take your money, there are risks without any benefits—especially infection and allergic reactions. Most of these scams cost about $7,000-$15,000. They try and squeeze extra money from you by offering maintenance injections to “boost your cells”.
We hope to have clinical research studies using stem cells in IPF over the next few years. These studies will never cost patients any money to participate. You will be able to find the studies listed on the government’s website—clinicaltrials.gov. We published an article on this topic on our sister website, PulmonaryHypertensionRN.com. This article applies to IPF just like pulmonary hypertension. We encourage to read this article and take steps to protect yourself and your friends from scammers. Click here to read the full article on avoiding stem cell scammers.
We received several questions about familial IPF
The vast majority of patients with IPF have sporadic IPF (not transmitted from parent to child). A small percentage of IPF patients have disease that is heritable (inherited from a parent). Patients with familial or inherited IPF will have multiple family members that are affected. Although traditional teaching is that familial disease develops at an earlier age this was not seen in a large retrospective study. Children of patients with familial IPF should be seen periodically by a lung specialist to evaluate their lung function. To learn more about familial IPF click here.
Is it safe to fly if I have IPF?
We often get questions on this topic. The safety of flying on a commercial airline is best determined by discussing this with your lung specialist. The biggest concern is that when at cruising altitude the plane is pressurized to mimic about seven to eight thousand feet of elevation. This means that there is less oxygen in the air. For travelers without lung disease this is not a problem. However, if you have lung disease the reduced amount of oxygen may cause your oxygen level to drop and lead to dangerously low oxygen levels in your blood. Click here to learn more about traveling with IPF.
Who should be treated for IPF?
This is a very important question. We are fortunate to have 2 effective medicines to treat IPF. OFEV and Esbriet help slow the progression of IPF and probably improve survival. Prior to the approval of these medicines, lung specialists studied various immunosuppressants (medicines that impair the immune system). None of these treatments were effective. In a very important study researchers showed that the use of prednisone and azathioprine (a type of immunosuppressant) was harmful. Newer immunosuppressants such as Cellcept (mycophenolate) and Rituxan (rituximab) are also not effective in IPF.