If you have hypersensitivity pneumonitis, you can take steps to control the condition and prevent complications by receiving routine follow-up care, monitoring your condition, preventing new acute flares and complications, and learning about and preparing for serious complications.
In addition to treatments you are using to control your condition, your doctor may recommend other medical care to improve your quality of life, vaccines to prevent lung infections, and lifestyle changes such as physical activity and quitting smoking to improve overall health and avoid some complications.
If you have been diagnosed with subacute or chronic hypersensitivity pneumonitis, your doctor may recommend follow-up testing to see how well your treatment is working and if your disease is improving, stable, or worse. To monitor your condition, your doctor may recommend repeating tests used earlier to diagnose hypersensitivity pneumonitis such as chest x-rays, computed tomography (CT) scans, or lung function tests.
Your doctor may determine your disease is worse if you have new or more severe fibrosis or lung function problems. High-resolution CT scans may be more informative than lung function tests at assessing disease progression.
There is a growing recognition that disease tends to be worse, such as greater lung fibrosis, if it starts in childhood or early adult life. Therefore, more careful monitoring may be required for younger patients with hypersensitivity pneumonitis.
To help prevent new acute flares and complications, your doctor may recommend tests to identify the substances causing your condition, as well as additional screening tests to prevent potentially fatal complications.
Always notify your doctor if your symptoms suddenly worsen. Your doctor will need to rule out other causes including infection and order repeat chest imaging tests. If these chest imaging tests show new findings without evidence of another cause, your doctor may modify your hypersensitivity pneumonitis treatment plan to better control your condition. Talk to your doctor and agree on a clinical decision plan to help you know when to seek urgent medical care.