When there is a known environmental cause of the pulmonary fibrosis, removal of the patient from the environment or occupation causing the disease is the first priority.
For Idiopathic Pulmonary Fibrosis, when the cause is unknown, treatment is targeted at preventing the scar formation that occurs in the lungs, in the hope of preventing the progression of the disease and lessening the cough and shortness of breath.
Research for effective drugs is on-going. Currently, there are two medications in Canada that may slow down progression of the disease. Talk to your health-care provider or your lung specialist to find out if you might be a good candidate for those medications.
Supplemental oxygen therapy can help keep oxygen at levels which might help to reduce breathlessness and will allow someone to continue being as active as possible. Your health-care provider can decide to send you for a test to determine if you will benefit from supplemental oxygen.
In some people, a lung transplant may be considered. You have to meet the criteria for receiving a lung transplant. Speak to your health-care provider if this might be an option for you.
A lung transplant has the potential to increase the survival rate. However, there are also many risks involved with it. Some of those risks are related to the medication used to prevent the body from rejecting the new lungs. Other risks such as infection are related to the operation itself.
Before deciding if someone with IPF is a good candidate for a lung transplant, the medical team looks at many factors, including the overall health and lifestyle of the person. Talk to the health-care provider or a specialist to see if a lung transplant would be a possibility.