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How To Slow Down The Progression Of Idiopathic Pulmonary Fibrosis

Idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis (IPF) is a type of chronic and progressive condition of the lung that causes scarring inside the lung. Idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis causes the lung tissues to become scarred, thick and stiff over a period of time. Fibrosis is a term used to refer to the scar tissue. Due to the thickening of the lung tissue in idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis, you are unable to breathe properly since your lungs are not able to transport oxygen into the blood. Due to this, your brain and other organs of the body do not get the oxygen they need. While Idiopathic Pulmonary Fibrosis is a slow progressing disease, sometimes people experience a sudden flare-up of the condition during, due to which the complications of the disease increase manifold. A flare-up of Idiopathic Pulmonary Fibrosis can affect your day-to-day life and also cause other complications of the cardiovascular and respiratory systems. The main issue with Idiopathic Pulmonary Fibrosis progression is that in most people by the time Idiopathic Pulmonary Fibrosis gets diagnosed, the disease is already in its advanced stages. However, there were ways to deal with an Idiopathic Pulmonary Fibrosis flare-up and slow down the progression of Idiopathic Pulmonary Fibrosis while maintaining your quality of life. So, how to slow down the progression of idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis? Let’s take a look.

3 Ways to Slow Down the Progression of Idiopathic Pulmonary Fibrosis?

How To Slow Down The Progression Of Idiopathic Pulmonary Fibrosis?

Quit Smoking If You Haven’t Already

Idiopathic Pulmonary Fibrosis is a disease of the lungs (1); and when you smoke, it is only going to make your condition worse. Secondhand smoke is also equally dangerous if you suffer from any kind of lung disease. There is a growing body of evidence that shows that smoking increases oxidative stress in the body, promoting disease progression in cases of Idiopathic Pulmonary Fibrosis. Furthermore, smoking attributes to an accelerated loss of lung function in Idiopathic Pulmonary Fibrosis patients (1). So if you want to slow down the progression of Idiopathic Pulmonary Fibrosis, then you need to not only quit smoking, but also discuss the side effects of secondhand smoke for Idiopathic Pulmonary Fibrosis patients with your loved ones if any of them smoke.

Identifying Environmental Triggers

The exact cause of Idiopathic Pulmonary Fibrosis is not known (1); however, it is believed that environmental factors may have a role in exacerbating your condition (2).

Environmental pollutants can not only cause Idiopathic Pulmonary Fibrosis, but also trigger your symptoms and may be responsible for your flare-up of Idiopathic Pulmonary Fibrosis. Once you are diagnosed with Idiopathic Pulmonary Fibrosis, you cannot possibly reverse the lung scarring that has already taken place due to pollutants (3), but you can always discuss with your doctor how to avoid the triggers that cause your Idiopathic Pulmonary Fibrosis symptoms.

Some of the environmental triggers responsible for Idiopathic Pulmonary Fibrosis may include: cigarette smoke, coal dust, asbestos, animal droppings, silica dust and dust from hard metals (4, 5).

If you are exposed to such pollutants on a regular basis, then you must talk to your doctor about how you can not only minimize the negative effects, but also how you can avoid them altogether to slow down the progression of idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis.

What About Medications to Slow Down the Progression of Idiopathic Pulmonary Fibrosis?

Once you begin your idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis treatment, you will come to realize that there is no one single medication that is used for treating idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis. Your doctor will try out several medication options, depending on your symptoms or on the sudden emergence of a flare-up of idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis, which causes your symptoms to worsen. Quick treatment during an idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis flare-up can help ease some of the symptoms, providing you relief.

Some of the medications your doctor may consider for slowing down the progression of your idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis include: Antibiotics, oxygen therapy,

corticosteroids, pulmonary rehabilitation and vitamins for making up for deficiencies that are brought on by unintentional weight loss (6). All these measures help a lot in slowing down the progression of Idiopathic Pulmonary Fibrosis.

Exercise to Slow Progression of Idiopathic Pulmonary Fibrosis (7)

One of the most common symptoms of idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis is shortness of breath. When you feel short of breath, the last thing you feel like doing is to exercise. However, exercising regularly, even for just 15 minutes a day has a big role to play in slowing down the progression of your idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis.

It is true that you might not be able to exercise and move around as you once used to, but even a little bit of physical activity will improve the overall functioning of your lungs. Exercise will also help boost your heart health, as exercising will help increase your oxygen intake in idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis. Exercise also helps lower stress levels, thus helping you reduce anxiety related to your idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis. However, only carry out the exercises that have been approved by your doctor for idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis.

Watch Your Diet/Weight

People suffering from idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis usually experience unintentional weight loss because they are unable to eat properly due to loss of appetite. If you are still maintaining a healthy weight, then you don’t need to worry about your weight. Rather, then you need to focus on ensuring that you are consuming a healthy and nutritious diet for slowing the progression of idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis. The choice of food will have a huge impact on how you end up feeling. In the long run, healthy nutrition has been known to slow down the progression of many chronic diseases, including idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis.

If idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis is making it hard for you to consume three regular meals, then focus instead on eating smaller portions spread throughout the day. Your doctor will also be able to advise you on whether you are suffering from any nutrient deficiency and consulting a dietitian may also help plan out your meals better in dealing with idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis.


Unfortunately, the progression of idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis is inevitable. However, together with your doctor, you can figure out certain ways through which you can slow down this rate of progression of idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis. Idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis usually progresses over years, but the occurrence of acute flares can take place during this time, and also accelerate the progression of idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis.


Also Read:

Pramod Kerkar, M.D., FFARCSI, DA
Pramod Kerkar, M.D., FFARCSI, DA
Written, Edited or Reviewed By: Pramod Kerkar, M.D., FFARCSI, DA Pain Assist Inc. This article does not provide medical advice. See disclaimer
Last Modified On:February 5, 2020

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