Know Your Risks
If you have been diagnosed with Pulmonary Fibrosis, there are a number of things you can do to take part in your own treatment and help yourself stay healthy. Caregivers may also be interested in the following information, to assist a family member diagnosed with Pulmonary Fibrosis:
- Call your doctor or nurse with any questions about your condition or its treatment. If you notice anything unusual about how you are feeling or how your medicines are working, call your doctor right away.
- Take all prescribed medications as instructed by your doctor.
- Get your influenza (flu) vaccine every year, and also make sure that your pneumococcal vaccine (Pneumovax) is up to date.
- If you smoke, it is very important that you stop as soon as possible. Ask your doctor or nurse about smoking cessation programs and products that can help.
- Your doctor may have prescribed supplemental oxygen, which can provide your body with the oxygen it needs but your lungs can no longer supply. Some patients fear that they will become addicted to oxygen, but this is not true. Supplemental oxygen can help you feel less breathless and more energetic, while protecting your heart and other vital organs.
- Consult your physician about enrolling in a pulmonary rehabilitation or respiratory therapy program to help increase your strength, learn breathing techniques, and expand your social support network. Ask your doctor or nurse for more details. Many patients report improved breathing and quality of life after adding education and exercise to their treatment. Please note you can participate in a respiratory therapy program even if you are currently taking supplemental oxygen.
- Eat a well-balanced diet to maintain in ideal body weight. This helps support your body and keeps up your strength. Discuss any special nutritional concerns with your doctor or nurse.
- Consider eating smaller, more frequent meals during the course of your day. Many patients find it easier to breathe when their stomach isn’t completely full.
- Talk about Pulmonary Fibrosis: Get the word out to raise awareness about the disease. Tell your friends, colleagues and local newspapers about your experience – your story can make a difference. Speak and write to members of Congress about Pulmonary Fibrosis and join the CPF in its work to increase Congressional attention to the disease.
Dozens of patients have helped create Pulmonary Fibrosis support groups in their communities. It’s a great way to get the emotional support you need. If there is not yet an Pulmonary Fibrosis support group in your area, contact the CPF for your free copy of the “Pulmonary Fibrosis Support Group Coordinator’s Kit” and we’ll guide you through the process of starting an effective and lasting group.
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