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Pulmonary Fibrosis Treatment

The scarring of the lungs that occurs with idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis cannot be reversed. However, some treatments may improve symptoms temporarily or slow the progress of the disease:

Lifestyle

Stopping smoking immediately is very important for all patients with IPF. If you smoke, your doctor can help recommend treatments which will help you quit. Patients should also avoid sources of any lung irritant, including allergens, toxins, fumes, dust, and second hand smoke.

Pulmonary rehabilitation is a standard treatment for people with chronic lung disease. It is a broad program that helps improve quality of life and well-being for people with these conditions. Pulmonary rehab may include:

  • Exercise training
  • Nutritional counseling
  • Psychological counseling or support groups
  • Breathing strategies or exercises
  • Education about the condition and the best way to manage it
  • Techniques for conserving energy

Pulmonary rehab does not replace medical therapy. It is used alongside medical treatments to help patients better manage their conditions and function at their best.

Pulmonary Fibrosis Treatment – Temple Lung Center

Medications

There are currently two medications which have been proven to slow the progression of IPF. Your doctor can help you decide if one of these is right for you. Also, there are several medicines available in ongoing clinical trials for IPF. These new medicines can often be taken alongside proven effective therapies. If you have gastro-esophageal reflux (GER), your doctor may prescribe other therapies to reduce the acid in your stomach, as this may slow the progression of IPF.

Oxygen therapy

Oxygen is usually administered through a pronged tube that is placed just under the nose. Oxygen therapy may be administered only during sleep or during exercise, but can be administered all the time as the disease progresses. Oxygen therapy can help reduce shortness of breath and allow patients to be more active.

Lung transplantation 

Lung transplants are recommended when idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis worsens quickly or when it is very severe. A lung transplant can help you live longer and improve your quality of life. However, there is the risk of rejection of the transplanted lungs or infection. Patients who receive lung transplants will have to take medications to reduce the risk of rejection for the rest of their lives.