Causes of Idiopathic Pulmonary Fibrosis
The term idiopathic literally means there is no known cause. We don’t yet understand what causes IPF. Recent advances have identified a few hopeful leads that suggest that IPF may be due to accelerated aging of the lung tissue. The DNA repair system has been implicated as being defective in some patients. The implicated genes are called TERT and TERC. In other patients, the genes that code for a proteins that lubricates the lung tissue has been found to be abnormal (SFTPA2, SFTPC). There is much active research in this area.
Who gets Idiopathic Pulmonary Fibrosis?
It is rare to have IPF if you are less than 50 years old. The disease is more common the older the patient. Men are affected slightly more often than women.
Is IPF Contagious?
You cannot “catch” or transmit idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis. Despite the prominent cough the disease is absolutely not infectious.
Will My Children Develop IPF?
There are a very small number of patient who have familial idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis. These families have multiple family members that are affected. If you have no other family members with IPF or with similar symptoms, then it is extremely unlikely that your children will be affected.