The scar tissue which forms with pulmonary fibrosis can prevent your lungs from taking up oxygen in the air. As a result it is common to feel breathless and the levels of oxygen in your blood may fall.
Oxygen is incredibly important for many chemical reactions on our body. Low levels of oxygen in the blood can cause problems. As a result, some patients with pulmonary fibrosis may require supplemental oxygen in order to prevent their blood oxygen levels from falling too low.
There are many devices to deliver supplemental oxygen therapy and your healthcare professional will choose the correct device for you. You may require oxygen in a cylinder or have a concentrator which turns room air into oxygen. In addition you may need either a mask or nasal cannula to deliver the oxygen to you.
Oxygen is not an addictive drug (eg like some painkillers) so do not worry about becoming addicted to oxygen. It is important to use the additional oxygen as instructed by your Doctor. You may also be given a device called a pulse oximeter to measure the amount of oxygen in your blood.
Unfortunately oxygen can’t repair the scarring of the lung which occurs during pulmonary fibrosis. Giving oxygen is a supportive measure aimed to maintain independence and quality of life by reducing the symptoms of low oxygen levels.