Oxygen and Pulmonary Fibrosis | American Lung Association

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Oxygen and Pulmonary Fibrosis

nurse helping older man with oxygen therapy

"[Using] oxygen can be daunting at first but will help to greatly improve your quality of life. It will allow you to still participate in daily life while preventing your body from straining too hard to breathe." —PF Patient

When you use oxygen as a medical treatment, it is called oxygen therapy or supplemental oxygen. Most pulmonary fibrosis patients need oxygen at some point during their treatment. You may need oxygen all day long, or only at night or when you exercise. Each PF patient's oxygen needs are unique and depend on the severity of their disease and lifestyle. Your doctor will have you perform a simple walking test to see if you need supplemental oxygen.

You will monitor your oxygen levels at home using handheld pulse oximeters (available over the counter in many pharmacies). You will aim to maintain your oxygen saturation level above 90 percent throughout the day and night.

"Pulmonary fibrosis patients face a unique set of challenges with oxygen use. Some patients require very high oxygen flows, especially as the disease progresses. It really helps to have a home care company and a pulmonologist who has experience advocating for patients needing higher oxygen flows at home." —Mark, respiratory therapist and Lung HelpLine counselor.

Getting started with oxygen can be challenging but most PF patients find that oxygen doesn't limit their lives—it actually allows them to do more.

Visit our oxygen therapy section to learn more about:

Do you have tips and tricks for living with oxygen you'd like to share? Send them to Info@Lung.org.

Advocate for Oxygen

Take Action

If you are on Medicare and have had issues getting your oxygen covered by insurance or getting the amount of oxygen you need, we want to know. Send an email with your story to Oxygen@Lung.org. Your email will be forwarded to the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services. Thanks for helping us advocate for lung disease patients who need oxygen.

    Webpage Resource

    Living with Pulmonary Fibrosis FAQ

    Learn more

    Reviewed and approved by the American Lung Association Scientific and Medical Editorial Review Panel. Last reviewed February 5, 2018.

    Page Last Updated: August 29, 2018

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