September is Pulmonary Fibrosis Month

 Updated: August 27, 2015

Respiratory therapists have long lamented the lack of public knowledge about COPD. But compared to pulmonary fibrosis, COPD is a virtual rock star among diseases and conditions.

September is Global PF Awareness Month, and the AARC is urging its members to get out into their communities and educate the public about the disease and what’s being done to fight it.

Treatments are available

Of course, part of the problem when it comes to raising awareness of pulmonary fibrosis is that it is not just one disease – the condition encompasses some 200 separate illnesses known together as interstitial lung disease. The most common form of the condition, however, is idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis (IPF), a devastating and nearly always fatal disease that affects about 128,000 people in the U.S. About 48,000 new cases are diagnosed each year and about 40,000 deaths are recorded – around the same number attributed to breast cancer.

People who have heard of the disease often believe there are no treatments available, but that’s not the case. While there is no cure for the condition, supplemental oxygen, pulmonary rehabilitation, lung transplantation, preventive measures like the flu and pneumonia vaccines, optimization of weight and exercise, and medications to manage symptoms have been shown to make a difference.

Learn more about it

Many of these treatments are the same treatments RTs use every day on the job to treat their other chronic lung disease patients, and therapists who want to learn more about how to combine them into an effective disease management program for patients with diseases ranging from COPD to IPF are invited to enroll in our Pulmonary Disease Educator Course coming up Sept. 17-18 in Dallas, TX.

To learn more about pulmonary fibrosis visit the Pulmonary Fibrosis Foundation website. The Pulmonary Fibrosis Foundation is an AARC patient partner organization.

It’s time to put pulmonary fibrosis on the national radar screen, and just as we did for COPD, we can help make that happen. September is the perfect time to get started. The Pulmonary Fibrosis Foundation is offering lots of ways to get involved, including a #BlueUp4PF social media challenge.