Your Treatment Options
The sooner you know your options, the sooner you can formulate the right plan for your treatment. Early referrals can be especially important for options that might require additional evaluations, insurance pre-approval, or physical conditioning requirements. It’s also important that you know the types of treatment that are available, including:
- Testing: Imaging, lab, and pulmonary function tests can provide more specific information about your condition, so that you and your care team can determine the best course of treatment.
- Equipment: Depending on your needs, equipment such as oxygen, walkers, and specialized beds are available to enhance your mobility and daily functions. The right equipment can extend your ability to live independently, including activities like travel. If using oxygen, your medical and equipment providers should give you details about appropriate use of oxygen therapy, safety measures when traveling, and so on.
- Pulmonary rehabilitation: Pulmonary rehabilitation combines education and supervised exercise to help improve lung function, reduce the severity of symptoms, and improve your quality of life. If a pulmonary rehabilitation center isn’t accessible to you, programs such as cardiac rehabilitation can provide similar benefits.
- Medication: The right medication for you depends on a variety of factors, such as any other conditions you might have or other medications you might be taking.
- Transplant: Although a lung transplant isn’t the right approach for everyone, you have the right to find out if your eligible—and to get a second opinion about eligibility from a different provider or facility if you so choose.
- Research: ILD research is ongoing. You have the right to access research studies and clinical trials that might provide new approaches or options for your treatment.
A word about transplants
You have the right to an early referral and education about all transplant options. An early referral can be especially important if you require weight loss or gain, physical conditioning, or evaluation of other medical issues to meet transplant eligibility requirements. Requirements often differ across healthcare providers and facilities. A transplant isn’t the right choice or available for everyone, but consider a second opinion and explore additional options if your primary provider tells you a transplant is out of the question for you.
Pulmonary rehabilitiation programs are especially useful in improving the quality of life for persons living with ILD. Pulmonary rehabilitation combines the following:
- A monitored, supervised exercise program for increased endurance and strength
- Education on nutrition and symptom control
- Training around stress reduction and better breathing techniques
- A supportive atmosphere
If you don’t believe that your ILD medical provider is able to provide comprehensive access to the full range of options, remember—you have the power to explore other providers and resources.
Patients living with ILD are steadily deprived of their ability to breathe, and with that, they are deprived of everything else, including their hope for the future. The Erin Popovich Endowment ensures they’re not also deprived of the support they need to face their diagnosis with courage and strength. Here, we’ll provide the tools patients need to live a life full of the people and places they love.SIGN UP TO STAY INFORMED »
The Erin Popovich Endowment, established with the CHEST Foundation, is changing what it means to live with ILD. The CHEST Foundation is the philanthropic arm of the American College of Chest Physicians.
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