Living with Pulmonary Fibrosis
What is Pulmonary Fibrosis
Living with pulmonary fibrosis can be quite difficult. Not only is it progressively harder to breathe, you also become fatigued easily which makes it hard to complete basic tasks. People suffering from lung disease say it takes them nearly an hour to take a shower. Cleaning and walking to the mailbox also take a very long amount of time, and for some people, are impossible tasks to accomplish. During the winter months, living with lung disease becomes increasing more cumbersome. The dry air caused by household heating and the cold outside air both cause people with lung disease to experience heightened symptom flare-ups. However, there are a few simple exercises that can help decrease these flare-ups and the conjoining difficulties they cause.
Pulmonary Fibrosis Basics
Pulmonary fibrosis is a disease in which the lungs become scarred, causing the intricate passageways inside the lungs to thicken and harden. Hardening of passageways inside the lungs makes it difficult for oxygen to pass through the walls of the tiny air sacs (alveoli) into the bloodstream. The lack of oxygen in the bloodstream leaves sufferers of pulmonary fibrosis short of breath even after periods of prolonged rest. Pulmonary fibrosis is a progressive disease in which sufferers get worse over time, sometimes slowly and other times rapidly. Idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis is a form of pulmonary fibrosis that has no known cause.
Pulmonary fibrosis is included in a family of conditions referred to as interstitial lung disease.
The umbrella term, interstitial lung disease, refers to many conditions that lead to inflammation or scarring of the lung’s delicate tissues. Some autoimmune disorders, specifically connective tissue disorders like rheumatoid arthritis can cause interstitial lung disease. Once scarring has occurred to the lungs the damage is irreversible; however, treatment options are available.
Although your body’s ability to heal itself is a marvel, it needs some help in promoting lung health. There are multiple outlets to get help to your lungs. However, the easiest form of action is diet and exercise. For example, a study published in Thorax showed that men who eat apples have better lung health than those who do not. In this regard, seeking the help of a dietitian and fitness trainer can be very helpful, but make sure to speak about any planned rehabilitation with you physician first.
Here are some exercises to help your lungs:
- Walking and biking – Exercises that will stimulate heart health will help the lungs utilize oxygen more efficiently, which means less shortness of breath and deeper breathing. Try speed walking and riding a bike for extended periods of time.
- Swimming – You use nearly every muscle in your body when you swim. Use caution, swimming can seem harmless, but it can be strenuous. It’s important that people with lung damage ease into swimming.
- Yoga – Another activity that uses most of your body’s muscles, yoga can stimulate your lungs through focused breathing. Yoga also helps workout your diaphragm, the muscle that operates the lungs.
- Breathing exercises – There is a long list of breathing exercises you can perform to help improve lung capacity. Try breathing in deeply, and filling the lung cavity. When you exhale, purse your lips and breathe slowly. Then, try holding your breath for a few seconds before inhaling again. Repeat this exercise to see if you can increase the time you hold your breath.
The importance of exercise for a healthy individual is obvious, but when you have a progressive lung disease, it is imperative that you exercise your lungs often. It is equally important that you seek a treatment that fits your lifestyle and provides you with the results that you seek. If you or a loved own suffers from a progressive lung disease like COPD or pulmonary fibrosis, the Lung Institute may be able to help. The lung Institute uses your own body to help promote healing and get your life back within reach. Contact us today for a free consultation or call us at (800) 729-3065>.