Idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis is a chronic fibrotic lung disease of unknown cause that occurs in adults and has a poor prognosis. Its epidemiology has been difficult to study because of its rarity and evolution in diagnostic and coding practices. Though uncommon, it is likely underappreciated both in terms of its occurrence (ie, incidence, prevalence) and public health impact (ie, health care costs and resource utilization). Incidence and mortality appear to be on the rise, and prevalence is expected to increase with the aging population. Potential risk factors include occupational and environmental exposures, tobacco smoking, gastroesophageal reflux, and genetic factors. An accurate understanding of its epidemiology is important, especially as novel therapies are emerging.
Keywords: epidemiology; idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis; incidence; mortality; prevalence; risk factors.