The Emory University Center for Respiratory Health will meet with the community on Oct. 27 to raise awareness about a puzzling lung disease called Idiopathic Pulmonary Fibrosis (IPF).
IPF occurs when tissue deep in the lungs becomes thick and stiff, or scarred, over time. According to the Coalition for Pulmonary Fibrosis, IPF will be diagnosed in 48,000 people this year, and 40,000 will die from the disease.
Jesse Roman, MD, professor of medicine, Emory University School of Medicine, and director of the Emory Center for Respiratory Health and his colleagues are conducting clinical trials to find effective new therapies to help people suffering from this disease.
There is no cure for IPF and many people live only about three-to five-years after diagnosis.
"We'd like to not only find ways to prevent IPF," says Dr. Roman, "we'd also like to change the odds for people living with this disease - so they may live longer and have a better quality of life."
Doctors are beginning to recognize that something inside or outside of the lungs repeatedly attacks them over time. These attacks injure the lungs and cause scarring in the tissue inside and between the air sacs. This makes it harder for oxygen to pass through the air sac walls into the bloodstream.
"IPF varies from person to person," says Dr. Roman. "In some people, the lung tissue quickly becomes thick and stiff. In others, the process is slower."
The Center is also focused on educating patients through the Interstitial Lung Disease Clinic. Emory pulmonologists and their teams can help persons with this condition manage symptoms and improve the way they feel.
The American Association for Respiratory Care created Respiratory Care Week to bring lung health issues to the attention of the public. It is celebrated annually the last full week in October.
The Emory informational event is co-sponsored by the Coalition for Pulmonary Fibrosis. It is scheduled from 11 a.m. -- 3 p.m. at Emory University's Cox Hall. For more information about Emory's IPF Education Day and to RSVP, please call Mari Hart at 404-727-6552.
To learn more about Emory's work to protect lungs go to:
Emory Center for the Treatment and Study of Interstitial Lung Disease
"Breathing Room," Momentum, Winter 2007