Wooden alphabet blocks on carpet



Acute exacerbation

An event characterized by sudden, severe worsening of symptoms or an increase in disease severity1


Tiny air sacs in the lungs where the exchange of oxygen and carbon dioxide to and from the blood takes place


A type of medication that aims to slow the scarring and stiffening of lungs to slow disease progression2

Arterial blood gas test

A test that shows how well the lungs are working by measuring how much oxygen and carbon dioxide is in the blood. This test requires that a small volume of blood be drawn from the patient3


Breathing exercises

Techniques that involve breathing in a certain way to control breathlessness and strengthen your lungs

Bronchoalveolar lavage

A procedure in which a bronchoscope (a medical instrument like a tube) is passed through the mouth or nose into the lung and fluid is squirted into a small part of the lung and then collected for examination4



Refers to the heart, and blood vessels

Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD)

A type of chronic disease that typically worsens over time and is characterized by long-term breathing problems and poor airflow. Chronic bronchitis and emphysema are older terms used for COPD5

Clinical trials

A medical study that investigates how safe and effective a new therapy or technique is for treating a certain disease

Co-existing conditions

A disease or condition that occurs at the same time as another disease or condition

Complementary therapy

Therapies used alongside conventional treatments that help treat symptoms and may improve overall physical and mental wellbeing

Continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP) device

A device to deliver compressed air to improve sleep in people with obstructive sleep apnoea6

Coronary artery/heart disease

A disease where a waxy substance (plaque) builds up inside the coronary arteries, which supply oxygen-rich blood to the heart muscle7



A lung condition where the air sacs within the lungs (alveoli) become damaged5



Extreme weariness resulting from exertion or illness


Where inflamed tissue is replaced with scar tissue, making it thicken and become stiffer4

Finger clubbing

A symptom where the ends of the fingers become wider and rounder8


Gastro-oesophageal reflux disease (GERD/GORD)

A digestive disease where stomach acid moves up out of the stomach and irritates the lining of the food pipe (oesophagus)9


A physician specializing in the management of diseases of the digestive system



A burning sensation in the chest, which can spread to the throat, along with a sour taste in the mouth

High-resolution computed tomography scan (HRCT)

A test that uses a type of X-ray that produces multiple, detailed images of areas inside the body4


Rapid and uncontrolled breathing



Of unknown cause

Idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis

A disease where there is progressive scarring or thickening of the lungs without a known cause4


Lung biopsy

The surgical removal of cells or tissue samples from the lung for examination by a pathologist10

Lung scarring

The lung tissue becomes thickened and stiff

Lung transplantation

An operation to replace a patient’s diseased lungs with lungs from a donor



A technique that helps to reduce stress and anxiety by helping to understand and manage your emotions

Music therapy

Listening to and playing music as a therapy which aims to ease the symptoms of those living with IPF


Nasal cannula

A small plastic tube or prongs that fit in the nostrils to deliver supplementary oxygen11


Obstructive sleep apnea

A sleep disorder characterised by breathing that repeatedly stops and starts during sleep12

Occupational therapist

A specialist who helps someone recover or live with their symptoms more easily

Oxygen concentrator

A machine that removes other gases from the air to provide oxygen for oxygen therapy11

Oxygen therapy

Administration of oxygen as a medical intervention11


Palliative care

Therapy that provides relief from symptoms to help patients live more comfortably with their disease13

Power of attorney

A formal documentation when someone else is given the responsibility to manage your affairs and make certain decisions on your behalf


The worsening of a disease/condition over time


Refers to the lungs

Pulmonary function test

A group of tests used to check how well the lungs take in and release air and how well they supply oxygen to the rest of the body14

Pulmonary hypertension

A type of high blood pressure that affects the blood vessels to the lungs and the right side of the heart15

Pulmonary rehabilitation

An education and exercise program designed to improve the quality of life for people with lung conditions16


A physician specialised in lung problems (also known as a respirologist)

Pulse oximetry

A test used to monitor oxygen levels in a patient’s blood, usually with a non-invasive sensor11

Pursed lip breathing

A breathing technique to help control breathlessness and reduce anxiety17


Rare disease

A disease that affects only a small percentage of the population

Risk factor

Something that is associated with an increased risk of disease or infection



A product that gives protection against a specific infection

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Show references Hide references
  1. 1.

    Juarez M, Chan AL, Norris AG, et al. Acute exacerbation of idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis – a review of current and novel pharmacotherapies. J Thorac Dis. 2015;7(3):499–519.

  2. 2.

    Raghu G, Rochwerg B, Zhang Y, et al. An official ATS/ERS/JRS/ALAT Clinical Practice Guideline: Treatment of Idiopathic Pulmonary Fibrosis. An Update of the 2011 Clinical Practice Guideline. Am J Respir Crit Care Med. 2015;192(2):e3–e19.

  3. 3.

    British Lung Foundation. Blood Gas Test. Available at: https://www.blf.org.uk/support-for-you/breathing-tests/blood-gas-test/. Accessed 1 February 2019.

  4. 4.

    Meltzer EB, Noble PW. Idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis. Orphanet J Rare Dis. 2008;3:8.

  5. 5.

    British Lung Foundation. What is COPD. Available at: https://www.blf.org.uk/support-for-you/copd/what-is-it/. Accessed 1 February 2019.

  6. 6.

    British Lung Foundation. CPAP machines for OSA. Available at: https://www.blf.org.uk/support-for-you/obstructive-sleep-apnoea-osa/cpap/. Accessed 1 February 2019.

  7. 7.

    National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute. Coronary Heart Disease. Available at: https://www.nhlbi.nih.gov/health-topics/coronary-heart-disease/. Accessed 7 March 2019.

  8. 8.

    British Lung Foundation. Symptoms of pulmonary fibrosis. Available at: https://www.blf.org.uk/support-for-you/pulmonary-fibrosis/symptoms/. Accessed 1 February 2019.

  9. 9.

    National Health Service. Gastro-oesophageal reflux disease (GORD). Available at: https://www.nhsinform.scot/illnesses-and-conditions/stomach-liver-and-ga.... Accessed 7 March 2019.

  10. 10.

    John Hopkins Medicine. Lung Biopsy. Available at: https://www.hopkinsmedicine.org/healthlibrary/test_procedures/pulmonary/.... Accessed 7 March 2019.

  11. 11.

    American Thoracic Society. Patient Education: Oxygen Therapy. Available at: https://www.thoracic.org/patients/patient-resources/resources/oxygen-the.... Accessed 7 March 2019.

  12. 12.

    British Lung Foundation. Obstructive Sleep Apnoea. Available at: https://www.blf.org.uk/support-for-you/obstructive-sleep-apnoea-osa/what.... Accessed 7 March 2019.

  13. 13.

    National Health Service. End of life care. Available at: https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/end-of-life-care/. Accessed 7 March 2019.

  14. 14.

    British Lung Foundation. Tests to measure your breathing. Available at: https://www.blf.org.uk/support-for-you/breathing-tests/tests-to-measure-.... Accessed 1 February 2019.

  15. 15.

    National Health Service. Pulmonary hypertension. Available at: https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/pulmonary-hypertension/. Accessed 7 March 2019.

  16. 16.

    Raghu G, Rochwerg B, Zhang Y, et al. An official ATS/ERS/JRS/ALAT Clinical Practice Guideline: Treatment of Idiopathic Pulmonary Fibrosis. Am J Respir Crit Care Med. 2011;183(6):788–824.

  17. 17.

    Borge CR, Hagen KB, Mengshoel AM, et al. Effects of controlled breathing exercises and respiratory muscle training in people with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease: results from evaluating the quality of evidence in systematic reviews. BMC Pulm Med. 2014;14:184.