Idiopathic Pulmonary Fibrosis (IPF) is a form of chronic and progressive interstitial pneumonia that is limited to the lungs. The symptoms of Idiopathic Pulmonary Fibrosis are not noticeable immediately as the condition is not bothersome till the point the disease has already progressed to an advanced stage. As Idiopathic Pulmonary Fibrosis progresses, patients start experiencing a gradual worsening of their symptoms, particularly a worsening of their lung function. However, the progression of Idiopathic Pulmonary Fibrosis does vary a great deal from patient to patient. Idiopathic Pulmonary Fibrosis generally progresses quite slowly, but many patients tend to experience acute flare-ups every now and then. These flare-ups are likely to severely hamper your day-to-day activities and also cause complications to your cardiovascular and respiratory systems. Since Idiopathic Pulmonary Fibrosis generally gets diagnosed at advanced stages, it is important that you are vigilant about your symptoms and consult your doctor if you notice certain symptoms that continue to persist. There are many ways to slow down the progression of idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis that will help you maintain the quality of your life. Let’s discuss some of these ways.
3 Ways to Slow Down the Progression of Idiopathic Pulmonary Fibrosis?
It has been observed that idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis progresses at a slow rate. However, in spite of a slow progression, patients do experience acute flare-ups of the disease from time to time. These idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis flare-ups cause severe limitations to your normal life and also cause complications to your respiratory and cardiovascular system. It is possible to slow down the progression of idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis and understanding how to slow down the disease can help you live a better quality of life and sometimes it may also increase the time between each flare-up. Let us look at some ways in which you can slow down the progression of idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis.
Smoking has many side effects and it affects the body in many adverse ways. If you smoke, then you should consider quitting right away. Quitting smoking is one of the most important ways to slow down the progression of idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis. It is understandable that quitting smoking does not happen overnight. If you have been trying to quit smoking and are having a hard time with it, then you can always talk to your doctor who can help you devise strategies to help quit smoking. Your doctor will also recommend certain cessation products or even prescription medications that will help you quit smoking without any problem.
Even staying around secondhand smoke is dangerous. If any of your loved ones are smokers, then you must talk to them and inform them about the risks of second-hand smoke, particularly if you are suffering from a lung disease such as idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis.
Avoid Environmental Triggers
One of the potential causes of idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis is environmental pollutants. Various environmental pollutants can also trigger the symptoms of idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis, thus causing a flare-up. If you have been diagnosed with idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis and you believe that environmental triggers could be a reason behind your condition, then you must understand that the lung scarring caused by pollutants present in the environment cannot be reversed. However, providing environmental pollutants should be a top priority for you so that you can avoid a flare-up of your symptoms. To slow down the progression of idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis, it is important that you avoid environmental triggers. Examples of environmental triggers you should avoid include: cigarette smoke, coal dust, asbestos, animal droppings, silica dust and dust from hard metals. You should talk to your doctor if you are exposed to such types of pollutants on a regular basis or if these environmental pollutants are present at your workplace.
Exercise to Slow Down the Progression of Idiopathic Pulmonary Fibrosis
People suffering from idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis often find it difficult to exercise as they quickly become out of breath. Feeling shortness of breath can start interfering with your daily activities as well, but definitely, it makes the option of exercising less appealing. However, you have to understand that regular exercise is key to slowing down the progression of idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis. While you may not be able to exercise as you used to before you got idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis, but you must still make an effort to remain active and to continue to move around and engage in activities that help improve your lung function. This will not only help boost your overall lung function but also help your heart remain healthy by increasing your oxygen intake. Exercise also lowers your stress levels, thus lowering any anxiety related flare-ups of idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis. So do try to exercise as much as possible as exercise is an effective way to slow down the progression of idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis.
While there is no identified and prescribed treatment for idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis, these steps that are mentioned above can help you slow down the progression of the disease. You can also get vaccinated against influenza and pneumococcal infection in order to avoid any major complications during a flare-up of idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis. Discussing your situation with your doctor will help you plan out a customized symptom management plan that will not only prevent a flare-up of your condition, but will also work to slow down the progression of idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis.
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- Idiopathic Pulmonary Fibrosis (IPF) vs. COPD