Out of breath could mean out of shape or something more serious

If you find yourself "out of breath" on a regular basis, you may be out of shape or suffering from idiopathic pulminary fibrosis. Eight years ago Bill Pommy was diagnosed with idiopathic pulminary fibrosis, or IPF. He was getting out of breath walking up stairs.

"For a while I was in denial and didn't want to think about it, which is I guess normal, and it wasn't until I became more informed about the disease that it became more part of my life," said Pommy.

He uses medicine and oxygen to control the disease. "It could be that you are just out of shape, but that is what we call a diagnosis of exclusion," said Dr. Devin Sherman, a pulminologist.

He says an unexplained cough is another symptom of IPF. "It's about 50% of people that have the diagnosis of IPF have been smokers at some point in their life," said Dr. Sherman.

Dr. Sherman says it's possible that someone may quit smoking and develop this condition later in life. "It's a progressive disease. It gets worse over time and it is usually fatal. It can be treated in the meantime and that usually is trying to keep yourself in the best shape you can and use oxygen when it's necessary," said Dr. Sherman.

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