(HealthDay News) -- Pulmonary fibrosis is a disease that can lead to scarring in air sacs within the lungs. This can make breathing difficult.
Most cases of the disease have no known cause, and its severity varies from person to person.
About 140,000 Americans have been diagnosed with pulmonary fibrosis, the American Lung Association says.
Here are the group's suggestions for managing the disease:
- Take all prescribed medicines as directed by your doctor.
- Call your doctor right away if you have breathing difficulty.
- Get a flu shot each year. And ask your doctor if you need a pneumonia vaccine.
- If you smoke, quit.
- Avoid secondhand smoke.
- Ask your doctor if you may benefit from a pulmonary rehabilitation program.
- Ask your doctor about exercises that will help you breathe easier.
- Eat a well-balanced dietand maintain an ideal body weight.
- Eat smaller, more frequent meals. You may find it easier to breathe when your stomach isn't completely full.
- Join a support group to help you cope with the disease. The American Lung Association has Better Breathers Clubs around the U.S.
- If your disease is making you anxious or depressed, talk to your doctor.