Creating Your Daily Roadmap
If you’ve been diagnosed with interstitial lung disease (ILD), you may have a lot of questions. People with ILD can experience a variety of physical and emotional challenges throughout the day, ranging from fatigue to powerful emotions and frustration. Understanding how ILD affects you as an individual and learning about how ILD may progress over time will help you anticipate what lies ahead.
Customizing a Plan that Works for You
Because ILD affects each person differently and may progress at different rates, healthcare providers will create plans that are tailored to each person's individual needs.
Getting involved in your own care makes a difference
You are the biggest factor in coping with your ILD. As with all diseases, it is important to live a healthy lifestyle. Activities such as physical conditioning, breathing exercises, nutritional counseling, and anxiety and stress management may all be a part of the personalized plan your healthcare provider may create for you.
There are a number of things you can do to help your ILD symptoms. Work with your healthcare provider to see if the tips below may be appropriate for you:
Quit Smoking. If you’re still smoking, it’s important that you seek help and stop smoking as soon as possible. Remember, additional potential benefits to quitting include: increased oxygen levels in your blood, lowered blood pressure , and improved circulation.
Eat Well. A healthy diet may play an important role in your overall physical and mental health. A diet rich in nutrients and low in saturated fat, trans fat, cholesterol, salt, and added sugar, along with a healthy balance of fruits, vegetables, whole grains, lean meats, poultry without skin, fish, beans, and fat-free or low-fat dairy products, may help you get the fuel you need throughout the day. Remember, eating several smaller meals (rather than a few large meals) may prevent feeling too full, which can make it hard to breathe.
Exercise. A lack of exercise can work against people who have ILD, as inactivity may weaken the muscles, making even the simplest activities more difficult. Regular exercise may help you develop the energy you need to accomplish daily tasks with less shortness of breath, and also help you to ease feelings of anxiety.
Oxygen Therapy. Supplemental oxygen may make a substantial difference in a person’s ability to cope with many of the lifestyle-altering effects that can accompany ILD. Oxygen therapy may provide the additional oxygen the body needs to help people with ILD maintain an active lifestyle and may also decrease shortness of breath and the additional strain on the heart due to low oxygen saturation levels.
Get Rest. Getting enough sleep every night may boost your overall sense of well-being. Rest can also help you deal with the stress of living with ILD.
Connect with Others. Whether it’s friends and family or support and advocacy groups, staying connected to others who can provide good company and a positive outlet for what you’re going through may make a powerful difference in adding meaning to your life and helping you cope with living with ILD.
Cope with Emotions. Psychological and spiritual support is often an important factor in keeping a positive outlook, reducing fears, and enhancing the daily lives of people with ILD. Keeping a positive attitude and staying relaxed may conserve valuable oxygen by avoiding its excessive use that can come with tension.
Make the most out of life
- Take an active role in managing your health.
- Make key lifestyle changes.
- Stay connected to friends and family.
- Stay active to stay strong and reduce stress.
- Stay informed and join support groups.
Creating a Personal Action Plan
The bigger the role you play in your care, the better. You and your doctor can work together to create a Personal
Action Plan. This daily plan can make a big difference in helping you manage your day
and help you feel better.
Most importantly, remember to focus on your life, not your condition. Prioritize the people and things in your life that bring you joy.