Charlene Marshall, a writer for Pulmonary Fibrosis News, discusses how PF is an invisible disease that others have a hard time understanding.

With the exception of using supplemental oxygen, pulmonary fibrosis (PF) is an invisible disease for the most part. Like other chronic illnesses, it can be extremely difficult for patients to deal with; others can’t understand many of the physical symptoms and side effects of the disease. No matter how many times someone with PF, or any other type of interstitial lung disease (ILD), tries to explain shortness of breath to a person with healthy lungs, they just can’t understand.

They also can’t understand other physical symptoms, like the constant soreness and pain in the muscles surrounding the lungs from a frequent dry cough; regularly having an upset stomach or headache from the medications; or the frustration that comes with the constant fatigue from being chronically under-oxygenated.