Double lung transplant gives Que. woman new lease on life

A Montreal woman who is recovering from a double lung transplant is hoping to raise awareness about the disease that nearly killed her and the need to sign organ donor cards.

Three years ago, after Linda Paradis began to experience pain while taking deep breaths, she knew something was wrong.

Doctors tested her for several conditions for close to a year before finally diagnosing her with idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis -- a condition that doctors still don’t understand well.

IPF causes scar tissue, or fibrosis, to build up in the lungs, shrinking their oxygen-intake abilities. Doctors don’t know what causes it, which is why it’s called idiopathic, says respirologist Dr. Julie Morisset, who specializes in IPF.

“Right now, the hypothesis that we have is that it's related to aging of the cells in the lungs. Because those cells are aging they can die out and all those cells create scarring in the lung and the lung gets really stiff,” she says.

It took a year for doctors to finally diagnose Paradis in part because IPF is so hard to detect. The symptoms of shortness of breath and coughing are common to many lung diseases, so narrowing in on the cause is difficult, says Morriset. Continue reading

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