Receiving a diagnosis of idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis (IPF) can be overwhelming. Understanding your disease and the associated symptoms will provide you with the tools to effectively communicate with your healthcare team, thereby promoting your quality of life.
Three Pillars of IPF Management
Your healthcare team can help manage your IPF in three important ways: disease management, education and planning, and symptom management (also called palliative (PAL-ee-uh-tiv) care).
Disease management comes from a healthcare team-based comprehensive approach to managing IPF and its symptoms. Disease management includes medications, pulmonary rehabilitation, supplemental oxygen, and managing any other health problems you may have. Ongoing communication with your healthcare team (doctors, nurses, social worker, pharmacist, etc.) is important to ensure you’re getting the appropriate care at all times.
Education and Planning
Education and planning comes from the partnership you establish with your healthcare team. Understanding important information about IPF, common symptoms, and disease progression (the worsening of a disease over time) and calling your healthcare team/provider with any worsening symptoms will help to prevent unnecessary complications and maintain control over your care. Together, these strategies may help ease your emotional concerns.
Symptom management, or palliative care, is an important component of living well with IPF. Equipping yourself with the understanding and knowledge of disease management and relying on the education and planning about your condition allow you to recognize and report early signs and symptoms to your healthcare team. Early and prompt symptom management reduces the effects of disease progression and disability, and it is key in maintaining control of your care, which may enable you to engage in meaningful and important activities.
THE THREE PILLARS OF IPF MANAGEMENT (DISEASE MANAGEMENT, EDUCATION AND PLANNING, AND SYMPTOM MANAGEMENT) ARE
MOST EFFECTIVE WHEN USED TOGETHER.
Once you receive a confirmed diagnosis of IPF, your healthcare team will provide additional information about IPF, common symptoms, and disease progression. Together with your healthcare team, you can develop an individualized IPF care plan. Being an active participant in developing your care plan together with your healthcare team allows you to maintain control of your care and ensures your optimal quality of life.