Former New York Yankees outfielder Bernie Williams is teaming up with Boehringer Ingelheim to raise awareness of idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis, a lung disease that his father suffered from for years before he passed away in 2001. Williams
is joining the Ridgefield drugmaker’s “Breathless” campaign, which seeks to educate and empower others who think they may have IPF to seek early diagnosis and treatment, and to direct people to visit the campaign’s website at BreathlessIPF.com, which features videos and other resources.
IPF is a rare and serious lung disease that causes permanent scarring of the lungs and makes it difficult to breathe. Symptoms of IPF include breathlessness during activity, a dry and persistent cough, chest discomfort, fatigue and weakness. Although considered “rare,” IPF affects up to 132,000 Americans, and about 50,000 people in the U.S. are diagnosed every year with IPF – enough to fill a baseball stadium, Boehringer Ingelheim said.
Available IPF treatments include supplemental oxygen, cough management and pulmonary rehabilitation, which can include special exercises or breathing strategies. In 2014, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration approved the first drugs specifically indicated for the treatment of IPF.