An IPF Diagnosis Before 30: It Doesn’t Just Affect Older Adults

Idiopathic Pulmonary Fibrosis (IPF) most commonly affects aging adults, but for columnist Charlene Marshall, the disease struck in her late 20s.

A diagnosis in and of itself is shocking, but I can’t imagine the added confusion that accompanies a diagnosis you didn’t even know to look out for. Charlene navigates her experiences in her column, “Younger than 30: Living with IPF.”

At this point, the outlook for IPF is not good.

The disease causes lung tissue to scar, thus affecting breathing and oxygen distribution. There is no cure, and the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute indicates most people only live three to five years past diagnosis.

That’s a lot to process, especially for someone who still has a lot of life to live. As Charlene writes, it’s not easy “trying to adjust to life with a fatal and debilitating disease as a young adult with much on the go.”

But she approaches her column with a sense of honesty and candor. I’d highly encourage you to check it out, because while some columns will inherently appeal to people more her age living with IPF, Charlene still wants to include people of all ages in the conversation.

Here is a list of topics Charlene either has discussed, or hopes to:

  • That strange conundrum of being surrounded by people who say they want to help while still feeling completely alone
  • The impact of IPF-related fatigue on your relationships and social life
  • The effect of steroids on emotions
  • Learning dependence as an independent adult
  • The positives and negatives of patient advocacy

There’s a lot of good stuff—for those living with IPF and other rare diseases, too.

You guys know I’m a huge advocate for writing and sharing your experiences. It’s such a powerful and positive process, and there’s so much to be said for the way words connect us.

Don’t forget: September is Pulmonary Fibrosis Awareness Month. Head over to the Pulmonary Fibrosis Foundation website to discover ways you can help bring awareness to the disease.

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