Pulmonary fibrosis is a condition that causes scarring in the tissue of the lungs. More than 250,000 Americans have PF and more than 50,000 cases get diagnosed each and every year.
It is a lifelong lung disease, and the tissues scar and thicken as time goes on. This scarring cannot be reversed, and there is no current treatment that proved effective in stopping its progression, therefore the course of action is based on managing the disease. There are some treatments that may improve the symptoms, and some even temporarily slow the disease progression.
Pulmonary fibrosis management
Even though there is no known cure for pulmonary fibrosis, there are effective treatments. Current options include pulmonary rehabilitation, supplemental oxygen, palliative care, and medications - in serious cases, lung transplantation may be an option as well.
Pulmonary rehabilitation can help manage symptoms and improve daily functioning. Physical exercise focused on improving endurance, breathing techniques focused on improving lung efficiency and nutritional counseling may be mentioned under the pulmonary rehabilitation umbrella among other things.
Oxygen use can't stop or reverse the damage that the lungs took, but can make breathing and exercising easier, can reduce blood pressure, improve sleep, and prevent or lessen complications that are caused by the low oxygen levels in the blood.
In terms of pulmonary fibrosis management, palliative care means treating the symptoms of the disease to help the patient feel better on a daily basis, but it doesn't directly treat the underlying problem. It has been proven to enhance the quality of life of the people living with this disease.
Lifestyle and home solutions for pulmonary fibrosis management
The patient being active in their pulmonary fibrosis treatment and staying as healthy as they can helps a great deal when fighting with the symptoms. Stopping if they are an active smoker, eating well, taking time to rest and following their treatment plan are all very important aspects of fighting with this disease.
- "Pulmonary fibrosis", Mayo Clinic, 2018.
- "30 Facts in 30 Days", Pulmonary Fibrosis Foundation, 2022.
- "An Official ATS/ERS/JRS/ALAT Statement: Idiopathic Pulmonary Fibrosis: Evidence-based Guidelines for Diagnosis and Management", American Journal of Respiratory and Critical Care Medicine, 2011.
- "Idiopathic Pulmonary Fibrosis: Best Practice in Monitoring and Managing a Relentless Fibrotic Disease". Respiration, 2020.