The official blog of the Lung Institute.
Pulmonary fibrosis (PF) is a chronic, progressive and interstitial lung disease (ILD), occurring primarily in older adults. Pulmonary fibrosis and exercise can be quite a challenge because of the severe symptoms of the disease, which occur especially during any type of physical exertion. Nevertheless, exercise can be of great benefit, and with a bit of determination, moderate levels of exercise can improve patients’ ability to stay active longer. Doctors generally recommend exercise for people with pulmonary fibrosis and other chronic lung diseases. Physical training cannot repair the damage to your lungs, but it can improve cardiovascular conditioning. When muscles are used regularly, their ability to use oxygen becomes more efficient, and those who exercise will probably suffer less from shortness of breath. So, in response to the question of whether you can have Pulmonary Fibrosis and Exercise: You Can Do It!
Regular Exercise Benefits Include:
- Reduced stress levels
- Higher energy
- Sense of accomplishment
- Better sleep
- Better morale
- Improved cognition
Can You Exercise Safely with Pulmonary Fibrosis?
According to the National Institutes of Health, exercise is a well-documented, safe and effective intervention for prevention and rehabilitation of chronic diseases. Pulmonary fibrosis (PF) is a chronic lung disease associated with severe signs and symptoms, exercise intolerance, reduced quality of life and poor prognosis. In the short term, supervised exercise training programs have demonstrated clinical benefits in improving exercise capacity, dyspnea (difficulty breathing) and quality of life in patients with PF. The underlying mechanisms of chronic adaption to a regular exercise regimen in PF have yet to be well-described and require further investigation.
In other words, exercise is a good idea. The benefit of exercise training is well-established for chronic conditions such as pulmonary fibrosis. Moderate levels of exercise that do not result in significantly worsened symptoms are generally safe, though it is imperative to monitor oxygen levels and be sure that the person exercising has safe blood-oxygen levels.
Always Ask Your Doctor about Pulmonary Fibrosis and Exercise
Keep in mind, for people who may have an undiagnosed heart condition or other serious condition, exercise could present some risk. Always talk with your doctor before starting or changing your exercise regimen.
Many doctors recommend pulmonary rehabilitation for people with PF. Pulmonary rehabilitation is a formal program for people with chronic lung disease, supervised by professional physical therapists and supported by educational and other programs as deemed necessary by a physician. In pulmonary rehabilitation programs, three physical responses are monitored: oxygen saturation, heart rate and symptoms. A compact, portable oximeter allows patients to monitor their oxygen saturation and heart rate at home. With proper supervision, people with pulmonary fibrosis can take full advantage of the benefits of moderate exercise. Your team will have pulmonary fibrosis exercise tips to help you achieve your exercise goals.
Talk with your physician about what type of exercise program is right for your particular situation. As with any exercise program, if you experience dizziness or lightheadedness, chest pain or visual changes while exercising, you should stop immediately and contact your doctor.
Pulmonary Fibrosis and Exercise
Under the supervision of a pulmonologist, patients with pulmonary fibrosis should exercise. With exercise, the lungs will work at maximum efficiency, and exercise enables the heart and other muscles to do more with the oxygen available to them. Many people find participating in pulmonary rehabilitation helpful as well. Once they learn how to exercise properly and safely, they feel ready to try exercising on their own. In combination with exercise, staying on top of your pulmonary fibrosis treatments is important. Work with your doctor to develop the best pulmonary fibrosis treatment plan for you. Some people have noticed improvements in their quality of life after stem cell treatment. If you or a loved one has pulmonary fibrosis or another chronic lung condition, the Lung Institute may be able to help with a variety of adult stem cell treatment options. Contact us today at (800) 729-3065 to see if you qualify for stem cell therapy, and find out what stem cell therapy could mean for you.