As a patient you have the option to let this lung disease take over your life and limit what you do, or you can get up and achieve freedom through hard work and a few other lifestyle adjustments such as:
Lifestyle Changes with Pulmonary Fibrosis
- Getting Up and Being Active: As one of the main symptoms of pulmonary fibrosis being breathlessness, the fear of exacerbating this symptom and others can scare you enough that you avoid physical activity in all. Living a life with little amounts of physical activity can have immense affects on your muscle strength, and this lack of muscle strength will in turn make completing those very same daily activities incredibly difficult and tiresome. Choose the active lifestyle and talk with your doctor about designing a dedicated exercise plan!
- Watch What You Eat: The body uses the food we eat as energy to power all the important organs and muscles throughout it, which is why it is extremely imperative to your health that your diet consist of fruits, veggies, whole grains, lean meats, and lean dairy products. You should also stick with food that has low sodium, as well as watch your fat, cholesterol, and sugar intake. As a side note you should try to eat 5 - 6 smaller portioned meals throughout the day to prevent over eating, which can directly impact your ability to breathe.
- Stay Clear of Lung Irritants: Avoid stepping outside with friends or family members that smoke because their secondhand smoke is just as dangerous as putting a cigarette in your mouth, and if you are still a smoker the first thing to do is quit! When the weather is hot stick to staying indoors because that's when outdoor air pollution tends to be the highest. Also be aware of indoor lung irritants such as pet hair, some perfumes, and other household commodities that can exacerbate symptoms. Using an indoor air purifier is a phenomenal way to lower the presence of indoor irritants.
- Relax from Time to Time: There are numerous relaxation techniques such as meditation, or mind visualization, that you can use to relax your often stressed mind and body. Did you know that relaxing your body and mind can actually help your body conserve oxygen? In fact a relaxed mind can actually help you reduce panic attacks that often occur during an exacerbation, which helps you better control your breathing rate. Ask your doctor about any support groups that you can join, talking with patients alike can help you relax and learn other patients methods for living with pulmonary fibrosis.
- Have an Open Relationship with Your Doctor: The team of nurses and doctors are there to help you live the highest quality life possible, so during appointments openly voice questions and concerns, talk about any changes in your symptoms, and stick to any recommendations your doctor has discussed.
- Positive Attitude Plays a Huge Part: One of the most important aspects of your treatment is that no matter what you maintain an extremely positive attitude and outlook, if you view your pulmonary fibrosis as manageable and that you're in control, then that alone plays a huge part in your ability to cope with the disease.