Unfortunately the formation of excessive connective tissue in pulmonary fibrosis is irreversible. However, there are various treatments which can slow the progression of pulmonary fibrosis and improve quality of life.
Patients are advised to stop smoking as this will cause more damage to the lung tissue.
In addition, patients may be offered a “pulmonary rehabilitation” course involving gradual exercise and education.
Patients are also advised to keep up to date with immunisations such as the yearly ‘flu jab’ to prevent infections.
If an environmental cause is identified then patients are advised to avoid coming into contact with the trigger.
Medication and drugs
Steroids: Steroids work by suppressing the body’s immune responses. They can be useful in some cases of pulmonary fibrosis to relieve symptoms
Oxygen: Long term oxygen may be prescribed for patients whose oxygen levels fall too low, however this is not suitable for all patients and needs to be assessed on a case-by-case basis.
Other treatments for pulmonary fibrosis
In a very select group of patients lung transplantation may be an option, however this would need to be assessed on a case-by-case basis.