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.

Sept. 23, 2016
  1. What is idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis? National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute. Accessed June 22, 2016.
  2. Ferri FF. Idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis. In: Ferri's Clinical Advisor 2016. Philadelphia, Pa.: Mosby Elsevier; 2016. Accessed April 13, 2016.
  3. Idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis. Merck Manual Professional Version. Accessed May 3, 2016.
  4. King TE. Approach to the adult with interstitial lung disease: Clinical evaluation. Accessed April 13, 2016.
  5. King TE. Approach to the adult with interstitial lung disease: Diagnostic testing. Accessed April 13, 2016.
  6. What is pulmonary hypertension? National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute. Accessed June 9, 2016.
  7. Klings ES. Cor pulmonale. Accessed June 9, 2016.
  8. King TE. Role of lung biopsy in the diagnosis of interstitial lung disease. Accessed June 9, 2016.
  9. Islam S. Flexible bronchoscopy in adults: Preparation, procedural technique, and complications. Accessed June 9, 2016.
  10. King TE. Treatment of idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis. Accessed April 13, 2016.
  11. Raghu G, et al. An Official ATS/ERS/JRS/ALAT clinical practice guideline: Treatment of idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis. An Update of the 2011 clinical practice guideline. American Journal of Respiratory and Critical Care Medicine. 2015;192:e3.
  12. Ryu JH, et al. Idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis: Evolving concepts. Mayo Clinic Proceedings. 2014;89:1130.
  13. Barbara Woodward Lips Patient Education Center. Idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis (IPF). Rochester, Minn.: Mayo Foundation for Medical Education and Research; 2005.
  14. Puglisi S, et al. New perspectives on management of idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis. Therapeutic Advances in Chronic Disease. 2016;7:108.
  15. Lake FR. Interstitial lung disease in rheumatoid arthritis. Accessed June 15, 2016.
  16. Riggin EA. Allscripts EPSi. Mayo Clinic, Rochester, Minn. April 11, 2016.
  17. Meining A. Confocal laser endomicroscopy and endocytoscopy. Accessed June 14, 2016.
  18. Wellikoff A, et al. Probe-based confocal laser endomicroscopy imaging of interstitial lung disease. American Journal of Respiratory and Critical Care Medicine. 2013;187:A5796.
  19. Yserbyt J, et al. Perspectives using probe-based confocal laser endomicroscopy of the respiratory tract. Swiss Medical Weekly. 2013;143:w13764.
  20. Scott JP (expert opinion). Mayo Clinic, Rochester, Minn. July 21, 2016.
  21. Walsh SL, et al. Interobserver agreement for the ATS/ERS/JRS/ALAT criteria for a UIP pattern on CT. Thorax. 2016;71:45.
  22. Sista RR (expert opinion). Mayo Clinic, Scottsdale, Arizona. July 22, 2016.

Connect with others

News, connections and conversations for your health

Recent posts