Living With Pulmonary Fibrosis | American Lung Association

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Living With Pulmonary Fibrosis

Top 5 Questions for Your Doctor

See 5 important questions to ask your healthcare provider about pulmonary fibrosis.

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What to Expect

Every person who is diagnosed with pulmonary fibrosis has a unique experience with the disease. Some people stay in stable condition for years, while others may experience rapidly-worsening symptoms and overall health. For many, it is somewhere in between. Although no one can predict your prognosis for certain, you can help yourself by maintaining a healthy lifestyle and working closely with your care team.

Managing the Disease

If you have pulmonary fibrosis there are steps you can take to stay healthy.

  • Take all your prescribed medicines exactly as directed by your doctor.
  • Call your healthcare team right away if you have any symptoms or if you notice anything unusual about how you are feeling.
  • Get a flu shot every year. Ask your doctor if you should have the pneumonia vaccine.
  • If you smoke, quit! The American Lung Association has programs to help you.
  • Avoid secondhand smoke. Ask friends and family not to smoke around you.
  • If you are not enrolled in a pulmonary rehabilitation program, ask your doctor about whether you can benefit from one. This is a program that teaches you about your lung disease, how much oxygen you may need at rest and with exercise, how to exercise, how to manage your disease, and provides support and counseling.
  • Stay active and ask about exercises that will help you to get stronger and breathe easier.
  • Eat a well-balanced diet and maintain your ideal body weight.
  • Try eating smaller, more frequent meals. You may find it easier to breathe when your stomach isn't completely full.
  • Join a support group to help you cope with your disease. The American Lung Association has Better Breathers Clubs all around the country. Family members and caregivers can also join.
  • If your disease is making you feel anxious or depressed, talk about it with your healthcare team. They can get you help.

Finding Support

The Lung Association recommends patients join our Living with Pulmonary Fibrosis and caregivers join our Caring for Pulmonary Fibrosis online support communities to connect with others facing this disease. You can also call the Lung Association's Lung Helpline at 1-800-LUNGUSA to talk to a trained respiratory professional who can answer your questions and connect you with support.

Learn more about pulmonary fibrosis at Pulmonary Fibrosis Foundation


    Approved by Scientific and Medical Editorial Review Panel. Last reviewed October 31, 2016.

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