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Stage 2: Needing Oxygen with Activity

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This information was reviewed and approved by Jeffrey James Swigris, DO, MS (9/1/2017).

Stage 2 of IPF is when oxygen is needed with activity but not at rest. 

What should I focus on when needing oxygen with activity, but not at rest?

  • Work with your health care provider. The health care provider will write a prescription for oxygen based on your oxygen saturations with rest and activity. A durable medical equipment (DME) company will provide the oxygen.

  • Learn about the medical equipment. This includes the stationary/in-home and portable oxygen systems that are available.

  • Use a pulse oximeter to check your oxygen saturations when you are active or exercising to make sure you are getting the right flow of oxygen to maintain your saturation equal to or greater than 89 percent.

  • Ask about the medications that may be used for IPF. Learn the dose and time the medicine is taken, how it may be helpful and what side effects to watch for.

  • Breathing retraining may be helpful with the shortness of breath that can occur with exercise. Learn and practice the breathing techniques.

  • Remember to continue living a full life with IPF activities.

    • Regular exercise is important, and oxygen will help you feel better while you exercise.

  • Think about whether lung transplantation is an option for you personally, and share this information with your pulmonologist.


What to expect from the person with IPF in this stage

  • The person with IPF in Stage II is short of breath with exertion or activity.

  • Cough can be frequent and bothersome. It may only occur when the person with IPF talks for long periods of time or when they are exerting.

  • Fatigue is not uncommon at this stage and can be challenging to treat. Eating well, exercising and getting plenty of high quality sleep can help.

  • Being prescribed oxygen for use during the day is perceived by many people with IPF as a major step in the wrong direction. But, oxygen is not a death sentence! Even so, some people with IPF feel self-conscious using their oxygen in public. This is natural and usually short-lived.

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