Lifestyle and home remedies
Being actively involved in your own treatment and staying as healthy as possible are essential to living with pulmonary fibrosis. For that reason, it's important to:
Stop smoking. If you have lung disease, it's very important to stop smoking. Talk to your doctor about options for quitting, including smoking cessation programs, which use a variety of proven techniques to help people quit. And because secondhand smoke can be harmful to your lungs, avoid being around people who are smoking.
Eat well. People with lung disease may lose weight both because it's uncomfortable to eat and because of the extra energy it takes to breathe. Yet a nutritionally rich diet that contains adequate calories is essential. Try to eat smaller meals more often during the day.
Aim to eat a variety of fruits and vegetables, whole grains, low-fat or fat-free dairy products, and lean meats. Avoid trans fat and saturated fat, too much salt, and added sugars. A dietitian can give you further guidelines for healthy eating.
- Get moving. Regular exercise can help you maintain your lung function and manage your stress. Aim to incorporate physical activity, such as walking or biking, into your daily routine. Talk to your doctor about which activities may be appropriate for you. If you require assistance with mobility over time, such as a wheelchair, look for activities or hobbies you can do that don't require walking.
- Take time to rest. Make sure to get enough rest. Taking time to rest can help you have more energy and cope with the stress of your condition.
- Get vaccinated. Respiratory infections can worsen symptoms of pulmonary fibrosis. Make sure you receive the pneumonia vaccine and an annual flu shot. It's important that your family members also be vaccinated. Aim to avoid crowds during flu season.
- Follow your treatment plan. You'll need to have ongoing treatment from your doctor. Follow your doctor's instructions, take your medications as prescribed, and adjust your diet and exercise as needed. Go to all of your doctor's appointments.
Coping and support
Pulmonary fibrosis is a chronic, progressive disease, meaning it worsens over time. Learning more about the disease can help you and your family cope. Attending pulmonary rehabilitation can help you manage your symptoms and improve your daily functioning.
Having pulmonary fibrosis can cause fear and stress. Spend time with family and friends and let them know how they can support and help you. Talk to your doctor about your condition and how you feel. If you're depressed, your doctor may recommend you see a mental health professional.
Participating in a support group with people who have pulmonary fibrosis may be helpful. It can help to talk to other people who have had similar symptoms or treatments and discuss coping strategies.
As your condition progresses, your doctor may advise you and your family to discuss end-of-life issues and plan advance directives.