NEW YORK, Sept. 24, 2013 /PRNewswire/ -- In support of Pulmonary Fibrosis Awareness Month, Boehringer Ingelheim and the Coalition for Pulmonary Fibrosis (CPF) are teaming up to raise awareness of idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis, or IPF, a progressive and fatal disease that causes permanent scarring of the lungs, difficulty breathing, and prevents oxygen from getting to the body. This collaboration also features actress Rose McGowan, who is best known for her leading role in the hit television series Charmed. Rose knows first-hand the devastating effects of IPF, as a result of her father's diagnosis with the disease a few years ago.
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"My dad was always a very active, healthy man who enjoyed long hikes, so I knew that something was wrong when he couldn't take three steps across the room without becoming breathless," Rose McGowan, actress and advocate for IPF awareness, said. "Despite how hard I pushed, it took almost a year for my father to receive a diagnosis of IPF. I felt so helpless as I watched his health rapidly decline. I believe that if there had been more awareness about IPF, my dad may have been diagnosed sooner and would not have suffered so much so quickly."
IPF affects as many as 132,000 Americans.Although recognizing the disease is the first step to a timely diagnosis, misdiagnoses often occur because IPF symptoms are similar to other respiratory diseases like COPD and asthma, and to congestive heart failure.
In fact, a small survey of 68 randomly selected self-identified IPF patients and caregivers fielded through the CPF membership with support from Boehringer Ingelheim, revealed that patients experienced symptoms for more than 2.7 years, on average, before being accurately diagnosed. The survey also found that patients were most often misdiagnosed with pneumonia (15 respondents), bronchitis (14 respondents) and COPD (12 respondents) prior to an accurate IPF diagnosis.
Further, the survey showed that 57 respondents strongly agreed or somewhat agreed that they or their loved one is no longer able to do the things they once enjoyed. The self-identified patients with IPF and caregivers who responded to this survey also agreed that they did not initially understand the implications of an IPF diagnosis (48 respondents) and wish there was more information available about the disease (64 respondents).
"The prognosis for those diagnosed with IPF varies, but unfortunately most live only three to five years after diagnosis and there are currently no approved drug treatments in the U.S.," said Talmadge King, Jr., MD, Chair of the Department of Medicine, University of California, San Francisco. "It's important for physicians and patients to be aware of the symptoms of IPF because an early and accurate diagnosis, with the necessary specific diagnostic testing, means that management options such as supplemental oxygen or pulmonary rehabilitation can start sooner. An earlier diagnosis also may allow patients and caregivers more meaningful time to obtain the necessary resources and support."
Symptoms of IPF to look out for include a dry, persistent cough, breathlessness during activity and chest discomfort. As IPF is a progressive disease with no approved drug treatment options in the U.S., it may also have a significant impact on a patient's emotional state.
The survey fielded through CPF, with support from Boehringer Ingelheim, to its members also found that some IPF patients felt anxious (26 respondents), helpless (20 respondents) and isolated (12 respondents).
For this reason, Rose emphasized, "I want to make sure others are educated about IPF so no one has to feel isolated and alone, like they're lost in the wilderness without a roadmap like my father and I did."
"The CPF is honored to bring national attention to IPF during Pulmonary Fibrosis Awareness Month alongside Rose, Dr. King and Boehringer Ingelheim. It is critically important to work together to raise awareness as one voice so we can better understand IPF and help those living with it," said Mishka Michon, CEO, Coalition for Pulmonary Fibrosis.
To learn more about IPF, please visit the CPF's website at www.coalitionforpf.org or the Pulmonary Fibrosis Foundation's website at www.pulmonaryfibrosis.org.
About Idiopathic Pulmonary Fibrosis
Idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis (IPF) is a chronic, progressive, severely debilitating and ultimately fatal lung disease for which there are only limited treatment options available to date. The incidence of IPF can vary considerably and there is some evidence that the patient population is increasing. IPF is characterized by progressive scarring of lung tissue and loss of lung function over time.Development of scarred tissue is called fibrosis. Over time, as the tissue thickens and stiffens with scarring, the lungs lose their ability to take in and transfer oxygen into the bloodstream, and vital organs do not get enough oxygen. As a result, individuals with IPF experience shortness of breath, cough and often have difficulty participating in everyday physical activities.
About Rose McGowan
Rose McGowan is an American actress who is best known for her role as Paige Matthews in The WB Television Network supernatural drama series Charmed. Her advocacy work for idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis, or IPF, began several years ago when her father was diagnosed with the disease. Because she experienced the effects of IPF so close to home, she has a unique perspective and personally understands the plight of patients and their families. She holds the title of ambassador of the Coalition for Pulmonary Fibrosis (CPF) and chair of the Daughters of PF program. Since her father's passing, Rose has made it her mission to raise widespread awareness of IPF by partnering with Boehringer Ingelheim and continuing her work with CPF. In late 2012, she was a guest on CBS's The Doctors to publically advocate her support for the cause.
About the CPF
The CPF is a 501C(3) nonprofit organization, founded in 2001 to accelerate research efforts for pulmonary fibrosis (PF), while educating, supporting and advocating for the community of patients, families and medical professionals fighting this disease. The CPF funds promising research into new approaches to treat PF; provides patients and families with comprehensive education materials, resources and hope; serves as a voice for national advocacy of PF issues; and works to improve awareness of PF in the medical community as well as the general public. The CPF's nonprofit partners include many of the most respected medical centers and healthcare organizations in the U.S. With more than 26,000 members nationwide, the CPF is the largest nonprofit organization in the U.S. dedicated to advocating for those with PF. For more information please visit www.coalitionforpf.org or call (888) 222-8541.
Leading Respiratory Forward
Through research, treatments and patient-centric support services, the Boehringer Ingelheim (BI) lung health portfolio is designed to help address the challenges people living with a lung disease face every day. Leveraging the company's cutting edge science and leadership in chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), BI is researching new treatment approaches where needs persist. It is the company's goal to make a difference in the lives of patients with COPD, asthma, lung cancer, idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis and other respiratory diseases.
About Boehringer Ingelheim Pharmaceuticals, Inc.
Boehringer Ingelheim Pharmaceuticals, Inc., based in Ridgefield, CT, is the largest U.S. subsidiary of Boehringer Ingelheim Corporation (Ridgefield, CT) and a member of the Boehringer Ingelheim group of companies.
The Boehringer Ingelheim group is one of the world's 20 leading pharmaceutical companies. Headquartered in Ingelheim, Germany, it operates globally with 140 affiliates and more than 46,000 employees. Since it was founded in 1885, the family-owned company has been committed to researching, developing, manufacturing and marketing novel medications of high therapeutic value for human and veterinary medicine.
As a central element of its culture, Boehringer Ingelheim has a demonstrated commitment to corporate social responsibility. Involvement in social projects, caring for employees and their families, and providing equal opportunities for all employees form the foundation of the global operations. Mutual cooperation and respect, as well as environmental protection and sustainability are intrinsic factors in all of Boehringer Ingelheim's endeavors.
In 2012, Boehringer Ingelheim achieved net sales of about $19.1 billion (14.7 billion euro). R&D expenditure in the business area Prescription Medicines corresponds to 22.5% of its net sales.
For more information please visit www.us.boehringer-ingelheim.com
SOURCE Boehringer Ingelheim Pharmaceuticals, Inc.