Donate to Pulmonary Fibrosis Research, Patient Care and Education

Pulmonary fibrosis is an interstitial lung disease. It is part of a larger group of conditions that cause inflammation and scarring around the lung’s tiny alveoli (the air sacs of the lungs). This scarring is called fibrosis. Northwestern Medicine is leading the charge in researching pulmonary diseases and your donation to Northwestern Memorial Foundation furthers research efforts and helps create more effective treatments for patients.

The scarring from pulmonary fibrosis causes lung tissues to get thick and stiff, making it hard for the body to take in oxygen. This is especially serious because the brain, heart, and other vital organs are not getting the proper amount of oxygen they need to function. It is estimated that one in 200 adults over the age of 65 has some form of pulmonary fibrosis, with more than 50,000 new cases diagnosed every year.  Your support for Northwestern Memorial Foundation has never been more crucial.

Pulmonary fibrosis symptoms generally begin gradually and get more severe over time as the scarring progresses. In the early stages, symptoms may eventually impact the quality of life, making dressing oneself, eating and bathing difficult. Symptoms of pulmonary fibrosis include:

  • Dry cough that will not go away
  • Fatigue
  • Chest pain
  • Weakness
  • Shortness of breath
  • Loss of appetite
  • Unexplained weight loss
  • Clubbed fingers and toes

Some cases of pulmonary fibrosis are idiopathic, meaning the cause of the disease is unknown. But other causes include autoimmune and connective tissue diseases, long-term exposure to environmental irritants, smoking, drug use, occupational exposure to asbestos, metal, coal dust or silica, as well as radiation therapy and certain medications.  Physicians on staff may need to run a blood test, conduct a biopsy, use a CT scan or perform another medical procedure to give a complete diagnosis. When you contribute to Northwestern Memorial Foundation, you will ensure that physicians on staff have access to the most advanced medical technology available to reach an accurate diagnosis of pulmonary fibrosis.

Treatment plans of pulmonary fibrosis and interstitial lung disease vary based on the cause, how advanced the disease is, the severity of symptoms, physiological impact, and other related conditions. Treatments include quitting smoking and avoiding secondhand smoke, maintaining a healthy weight, pulmonary rehabilitation, immunosuppressive therapies, supplemental oxygen or inhaled corticosteroids. Treatment plans are often adjusted according to a patient’s physical reactions.  Therefore, close contact and communication with a physician are recommended throughout the treatment plan. Through your generosity to Northwestern Memorial Foundation, physicians on staff will be able to continue close monitoring of patients with pulmonary fibrosis to provide a high standard of individualized care.

With generous support from donors like you to Northwestern Memorial Foundation, Northwestern Medicine also has a variety of specialty programs and care centers for patients with pulmonary fibrosis. The goal of these programs is to limit symptoms, improve daily living and restore the ability to function independently. Northwestern Medicine also has a lung transplant program open to qualified patients.

Pulmonary Fibrosis Research, Patient Care and Education Donation

Continued research from Northwestern Medicine is critical towards developing treatment plans. Your donation to Northwestern Memorial Foundation gives programs the opportunity to continue research and pursue breakthroughs in treatment.

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