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Can Oxygen Therapy Treat Pulmonary Fibrosis?

Oxygen therapy is a common pulmonary fibrosis treatment, and one that can significantly improve the quality of life for patients living with low pulmonary fibrosis oxygen levels.[1] One of the hallmark symptoms of pulmonary fibrosis is breathlessness, which significantly impacts patients’ ability to maintain their daily activities.[2]

When used as a pulmonary fibrosis treatment, pulmonary fibrosis oxygen therapy can help improve breathlessness and the fatigue associated with it so that patients are better able to maintain regular activities. In addition, there are a variety of other treatments that can be used in conjunction with oxygen therapy for the greatest therapeutic benefits.[1]

So what is the best treatment for pulmonary fibrosis? Read on to explore pulmonary fibrosis causes and treatment. 

What Causes Pulmonary Fibrosis?

Pulmonary fibrosis (PF) is a kind of interstitial lung disease that causes scarring of the lung tissue. Unfortunately, in most cases there is no known cause of pulmonary fibrosis, though there are over 200 different types of the disease. When there is no known cause, it is called idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis (IPF), which is the most common type of PF. However, there are a few types of pulmonary fibrosis with known causes. Here are the types of pulmonary fibrosis with known causes. 

  • Pulmonary fibrosis caused by disease: Autoimmune diseases like rheumatoid arthritis, scleroderma or Sjogren’s syndrome can cause PF.
  • Pulmonary fibrosis caused by certain viral infections or GERD: Breathing in tiny drops of acid as a result of GERD can cause scarring in the lungs, leading to PF.
  • Familial pulmonary fibrosis: This form of PF is quite rare, and results with two or more members of a family have idiopathic PF. While some genes have been linked to PF, not enough is known to provide definitive answers.
  • Pulmonary fibrosis resulting from exposure: Exposure to lung irritants like asbestos or silica dust, as well as exposure to certain animal and bird droppings, can cause PF. Additionally, radiation treatments, certain medications and cigarette smoking can lead to PF.[3]

Pulmonary Fibrosis Treatment Guidelines

There are a number of different options when it comes to pulmonary fibrosis treatment guidelines. Each pulmonary fibrosis treatment is designed to help slow the progression of your disease and to help ease your symptoms, so you can live as normal a life as possible. After you are first diagnosed, you will likely want to know, “What is the best treatment for pulmonary fibrosis?” Your health care team will work with you to determine your pulmonary fibrosis causes and treatment. However, the following options are commonly included in the pulmonary fibrosis treatment guidelines. 

  • Medication: Currently, there are antifibrotic agents approved for the treatment of IPF. These drugs have been shown to slow the rate of scarring in the lungs. In addition, depending on the cause and the symptoms of your PF, your doctor may prescribe antacid medication, steroids to reduce inflammation or cough suppressants.[4]
  • Oxygen therapy: Pulmonary fibrosis oxygen therapy is quite effective, allowing PF patients to experience less shortness of breath and less fatigue, while also sleeping better and tolerating exercise better so they can remain active. Oxygen therapy helps improve pulmonary fibrosis oxygen levels for improved quality of life.[1]
  • Pulmonary rehabilitation: Pulmonary rehab includes a number of different therapeutic approaches to help improve overall mental and physical health. These can include breathing techniques, counseling, nutritional and health education, physical exercise to improve exercise tolerance and support groups.[5]
  • Lung Transplant: In certain cases where the lung scarring is significant, but the patient is otherwise in good health, a lung transplant may be suggested. However, since this is a major surgery and comes with significant risk, only a pulmonary specialist can help you decide if this is the right pulmonary fibrosis treatment for you.[6]

What is the best treatment for pulmonary fibrosis for you? Do your research, know your options and talk to your doctor about what is best for you. 

What Are the Benefits and Risks of Oxygen Therapy for Pulmonary Fibrosis?

There are a number of benefits to using oxygen therapy as a pulmonary fibrosis treatment. First and foremost, oxygen therapy helps improve pulmonary fibrosis oxygen levels, which not only helps improve the way you feel, minimizing feelings of breathlessness and fatigue, but also reduces stress on your other vital organs. Additionally, pulmonary fibrosis oxygen therapy can help improve exercise tolerance, sleep quality and overall quality of life. Oxygen therapy may take a little time to adjust to, but once you are used to it, you will feel the profound benefits of using supplemental oxygen as a pulmonary fibrosis treatment.[7]

There is some minimal risk to using oxygen for your pulmonary fibrosis treatment, though the risks are small when you use oxygen as directed. Oxygen allows fire to burn more easily, so stay 5 feet away from any heat sources, open flames or sparks. Do not smoke while using oxygen, and avoid storing your oxygen device in direct sunlight.[8] Too much oxygen also poses a health risk, so follow your doctor’s instructions for using oxygen, and never make any adjustments without first discussing it with your doctor. When used properly, pulmonary fibrosis oxygen therapy can improve your life. Talk to your doctor about whether oxygen therapy is the right pulmonary fibrosis treatment for you, and contact Inogen to find out more about how our portable oxygen concentrators can make oxygen therapy even easier.


  1. https://www.lung.org/lung-health-diseases/lung-disease-lookup/pulmonary-fibrosis/patients/how-is-pulmonary-fibrosis-treated/oxygen-and-pulmonary-fibrosis
  2. https://www.lung.org/lung-health-diseases/lung-disease-lookup/pulmonary-fibrosis/introduction/symptoms
  3. https://www.lung.org/lung-health-and-diseases/lung-disease-lookup/pulmonary-fibrosis/introduction/types-causes-and-risk-factors.html
  4. https://www.lung.org/lung-health-diseases/lung-disease-lookup/pulmonary-fibrosis/patients/how-is-pulmonary-fibrosis-treated/medications
  5. https://www.lung.org/lung-health-diseases/lung-disease-lookup/pulmonary-fibrosis/patients/how-is-pulmonary-fibrosis-treated/pulmonary-rehabilitation
  6. https://www.lung.org/lung-health-diseases/lung-disease-lookup/pulmonary-fibrosis/patients/how-is-pulmonary-fibrosis-treated/lung-transplant
  7. https://www.lung.org/lung-health-diseases/lung-procedures-and-tests/oxygen-therapy/how-can-oxygen-help-me
  8. https://www.lung.org/lung-health-diseases/lung-procedures-and-tests/oxygen-therapy/using-oxygen-safely

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