09th September 2021

September marks Pulmonary Fibrosis Awareness Month, a globally recognised initiative aimed at raising awareness about the disease, its symptoms, and the need for support.

Being told you or someone you love has pulmonary fibrosis (PF) or Idiopathic Pulmonary Fibrosis (IPF) can be a very overwhelming and terrifying experience. PF is a complex disease and medical information can be difficult to understand. There may be many decisions to consider about treatment, as well as emotional and practical changes to day-to-day life.

PF describes a group of interstitial lung diseases in which the lungs become progressively stiffer due to the accumulation of scar tissue.1 Scar tissue or fibrosis in the lungs impairs the transfer of oxygen in the alveoli (tiny air sacs), from air that is breathed in to the blood stream, eventually leading to low oxygen levels in the blood. As the amount of scar tissue increases, the area available for gas exchange becomes smaller.

The symptoms of PF may include1:

• shortness of breath, which may occur with exercise initially, but it worsens over time

• a persistent cough

• rounded and swollen finger tips (finger clubbing)

• crackles over your lungs heard by your doctor using a stethoscope

There are 23 specialist Interstitial Lung Disease (ILD) centres in the UK, with doctors, nurses, and allied health professionals dedicated to the treatment of PF and other ILDs. Treatment depends on the type and cause of PF,  and new treatments are being developed and tested in clinical trials.2

PF affects around 70,000 people in the UK alone and, together, we need to let the world know that September is Pulmonary Fibrosis Awareness Month. One of the initiatives developed by the Pulmonary Fibrosis Foundation (PFF) is ‘Go Blue: #BlueUp4PF’ as the fingers, toes, and lips of pulmonary fibrosis patients can often turn blue, which is why this was the colour to represent the disease. So let your creativity shine and wear as much blue as possible: take a selfie, and then post about it on social media using #BlueUp4PF. Check out what some of our agency team are doing in honour of #PFMonth.3

References
1. nhs.uk. 2021. Idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis. [online] Available at: <https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/idiopathic-pulmonary-fibrosis/> [Accessed 2 September 2021].
2. Actionpf.org. 2021. What is Pulmonary Fibrosis? | Action for Pulmonary Fibrosis. [online] Available at: <https://www.actionpf.org/information-support/what-is-pulmonary-fibrosis> [Accessed 2 September 2021].
3. Default. 2021. PF Awareness Month | Pulmonary Fibrosis Foundation. [online] Available at: <https://www.pulmonaryfibrosis.org/get-involved/volunteer/pf-awareness-month> [Accessed 2 September 2021].