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Idiopathic Pulmonary Fibrosis (IPF) Print E-mail
by Ron Kennedy, M.D., Santa Rosa, CA

Dr. Kennedy Idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis (IPF) is an autoimmune disease in which inflammation of the lungs results in scarring or fibrosis. This fibrosis can build up to the point where the lungs are unable to provide sufficient oxygen to the body.

Autoimmune disorders are caused when the body's immune system, which is meant to defend the body against bacteria, viruses, and other foreign product, malfunctions and produces antibodies against healthy tissue, cells and organs.

Doctors use the word "idiopathic" (from the Greek "idio" meaning "peculiar" or "unusual" and "pathy" meaning "illness") to describe the disease, because the cause of IPF is unknown. Currently, researchers believe that IPF results from autoimmunity as an after-effect of an infection, most likely a virus.

Whatever the trigger for IPF, it sets off a series of events in which the inflammation, immune activity in the lungs, and the fiberoptic process become uncontrollable. In a few cases, heredity appears to play a part, possibly making some individuals more likely than others to get IPF.

Symptoms include dry cough and shortness of breath. As the disease progresses, shortness of breath becomes the major problem. Day-to-day activities such as climbing stairs, walking short distances, dressing, and even talking on the phone and eating become more difficult and sometimes nearly impossible. Enlargement (clubbing) of the fingertips may develop. The patient may also become more susceptible to infection. In advanced stages of the illness, the patient may need oxygen all the time.

Conventional treatment involves the use of Prednisone and other corticosteroids. Often patients are unable to tolerate the toxic side effects of these drugs.

The alternative, nutritional medicine approach is to identify hidden allergies by blood test and avoid those allergens (primarily foods). Also enzyme potentiated desensitization holds hope for putting the disease in long term remission.

As with all autoimmune disorders, detoxification and dietary changes are usually helpful. For best results this should be done under the supervision of a doctor experienced in nutritional medicine.

The approach used in homeopathy is to attempt to restore the balance of the system using dilute solutions of natural substances specific to the disorder.

The information in this article is not meant to be medical advice.�Treatment for a medical condition should come at the recommendation of your personal physician.

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