In the early stages of LAM, you usually can do your normal daily activities. These may include attending school, going to work, and doing common physical activities such as walking up stairs.
In the later stages of LAM, you may find it harder to be active. You also may need oxygen therapy full time.
Getting ongoing medical care is important. You may need to see a pulmonologist. This is a doctor who specializes in treating lung diseases and conditions.
Take steps to care for your lungs. For example, talk with your doctor about getting a yearly flu shot and pneumonia vaccine.
If you have LAM, taking good care of your health is important. Follow a healthy eating plan, be as physically active as you can, and get plenty of rest.
If you smoke, quit. Talk to your doctor about programs and products that can help you quit smoking.
If you have trouble quitting smoking on your own, consider joining a support group. Many hospitals, workplaces, and community groups offer classes to help people quit smoking. Ask your family members and friends to support you in your efforts to quit.
For more information about how to quit smoking, go to the Health Topics Smoking and Your Heart article and the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute's (NHLBI’s) "Your Guide to a Healthy Heart." Although these resources focus on heart health, they include basic information about how to quit smoking.
Also, check with your doctor before traveling by air or traveling to areas where medical attention isn't readily available. Also, talk to your doctor before traveling to places where the amount of oxygen in the air is low.
If your lung function is normal, pregnancy might be an option. However, hormones during pregnancy can worsen LAM. Thus, you should discuss a possible pregnancy with both a pulmonologist who specializes in LAM and your obstetrician.
Most doctors don't recommend birth control pills containing estrogen to women who have LAM. Talk to your doctor about birth control options.
Living with LAM may cause fear, anxiety, depression, and stress. Talk about how you feel with your health care team. Talking to a professional counselor also can help. If you’re very depressed, your doctor may recommend medicines or other treatments that can improve your quality of life.
Joining a patient support group may help you adjust to living with LAM. Information about patient support groups is available from the NHLBI Health Information Center at 301–592–8573 or the National Institutes of Health/NHLBI Pulmonary Vascular Medicine Branch at 1–877–NIH–LUNG (1–877–644–5864), extension 3.
Support from family and friends also can help relieve stress and anxiety. Let your loved ones know how you feel and what they can do to help you.
Clinical trials are research studies that explore whether a medical strategy, treatment, or device is safe and effective for humans. To find clinical trials that are currently underway for LAM, visit www.clinicaltrials.gov.
December 9, 2013
Gary H. Gibbons
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The NHLBI updates Health Topics articles on a biennial cycle based on a thorough review of research findings and new literature. The articles also are updated as needed if important new research is published. The date on each Health Topics article reflects when the content was originally posted or last revised.