Reviewed by Amen Sergew, MD

These are management options that can help you care for you lung issues. If you have questions make sure to ask member of your team.

Secretion management

A variety of medications can help dry out your secretions. We may also recommend a suction machine. This is similar to what is used in dental offices to suction out saliva. Your durable medical equipment company (DME) can provide this.

Sleep Issues

You doctor may recommend further testing to check your oxygen levels (desaturation) at night. Noninvasive ventilation can be helpful when used at night to provide support during sleep.

Noninvasive ventilation

These machines provide support for your breathing by using pressure through a mask. This increases air flow to the lungs. National Jewish Health uses the Trilogy® ventilator or BiPAP to assist breathing.

The Trilogy helps your muscles rest and normalizes the blood oxygen and carbon dioxide levels. Noninvasive ventilation is used at night during sleep and in the day with naps.

  • The respiratory therapist at National Jewish Health will adjust (titrate) the pressure settings and find the best mask fit for you.

  • Your DME Company will provide the ventilator and instruct you (and other caregivers) on the proper use of the ventilator. A company representative will visit regularly.

  • Your pulmonologist will follow your progress and make adjustments or additions to your management plan as the disease progresses.

Weak Cough

A weak cough may be helped by a cough assist device. This helps improve the quality of your cough. Airway clearance devices can be helpful in mobilizing secretions. They can be used before the cough assist device. The Aerobika® is one airway clearance device. If these devices are recommended by your doctor, the respiratory therapist at National Jewish Health will show you how to use them.

Muscle Weakness

Low-impact aerobic exercise can help keep unaffected muscles strong, improve mental health and reduce fatigue. Stretching and range of motion exercises can improve spasticity and contractures. Physical therapists can provide exercises for you. Occupational therapists can suggest devices that can improve your mobility at home and elsewhere. Physical and occupational therapy are important to maintain as long as possible. This service is available through the University of Colorado. It can also be arranged at National Jewish Health or your local hospital.


Follow-up with our team at National Jewish Health is recommended every 2-3 months. This can be coordinated with your University appointments. Spirometry measures your lung function. It will be done at every visit (if you are able to do this). We follow the Forced Vital Capacity (FVC), which is a spirometry measure. This is a surrogate measure of your lung volume or lung capacity.

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