Heather Kagel, an Ambassador for the Pulmonary Fibrosis Foundation, lived an active lifestyle before she was diagnosed with idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis (IPF). Now, her life has slowed significantly.
“The most difficult part is the realization that your life might not pan out the way you thought it would,” Kagel said. “It’s hard to let go of what you planned for and create a new normal.”
About 100,000 people in the United States like Kagel are affected by IPF, and up to 40,000 new cases are diagnosed each year.
IPF results in progressive scarring of the lungs that makes it difficult to breathe in enough oxygen. Many patients experience fatigue, shortness of breath, a dry persistent cough, unintended weight loss and joint and muscle aches.
While the prognosis for IPF is unfavorable, Kagel remains thankful for what she has. She is helping educate other patients, so they get the right diagnosis and appropriate medical care as early as possible.
“Time is of the essence in this disease,” Kagel explained. “You have to know what it is early so you can live your best life with the time that you have.”
Watch the video below to learn more about IPF and how Kagel copes with her disease.
To learn more about Celgene’s commitment to rare disease research, read “Supporting Research to Find Cures for Rare Diseases.”