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What is ILD?*
Without the ability to process the necessary amounts of oxygen, you may experience difficulty performing your favorite tasks, and, eventually, difficulty with simple tasks like walking around.
Interstitial Lung Disease or ILD, is not curable and the scarring it causes is irreversible. However, medical treatments are available to help patients slow the progression of their disease and assist with the ability to breathe clearly again.
Since full lung function cannot be regained from interstitial lung disease, it’s important to identify and treat its symptoms early on before further damage is caused.
What Are the Symptoms of Interstitial Lung Disease?
Interstitial Lung Disease encompasses a variety of conditions, including idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis, sarcoidosis and pneumonitis, so the symptoms vary widely vary. If you experience any of the following symptoms, you should seek medical assistance:
- Persistent dry cough
- Shortness of breath, especially
during physical activity
- Tightness of the chest
- Coughing up mucus
- Coughing up blood
If you’re experiencing any of these symptoms, you should seek medical assistance immediately. Catching the disease in its earlier stages allows more treatment possibilities.
What Are the Causes of Interstitial Lung Disease?
Interstitial lung disease seems to occur when an injury to your lungs triggers an abnormal healing response. Interstitial lung disease can be triggered by many different things — including airborne toxins in the workplace, drugs and some types of medical treatments. In most cases, the causes are unknown.
The following factors after long term exposure may cause Interstitial Lung Disease:
Bird and animal droppings
Indoor hot tubs
How is Interstitial Lung Disease diagnosed?
To accurately diagnose your lung condition, your physician will perform a series of tests and go over some questions about your medical history, health, wellness and any smoking habits have or have had in the past.
Since interstitial lung disease includes many lung diseases, the tests your physician orders may include many of the following:
- Blood tests
- CT scan
- Bronchoalveolar lavage
- Surgical biopsy
The objective of diagnosis is to quickly identify the cause of your interstitial lung disease so that treatment may be administered to slow the progression of your scarring.
How is Interstitial Lung Disease treated?
The lung scarring that occurs in interstitial lung disease is not reversible. Treatment may not always be effective in stopping the progression of the disease. Some treatments may improve symptoms temporarily or slow disease progression. Others help improve quality of life.
Treatments for Interstitial Lung Disease include the following:
Medications – depending on the cause of your condition, your medications may include corticosteroids, that may slow the rate of disease progression, and acid reflux medications.
Oxygen therapy – the use of supplemental oxygen at scheduled periods throughout the day or for the entire day helps deliver fresh oxygen to your bloodstream that is otherwise difficult to obtain due to disease.
Pulmonary rehabilitation – the use of physical exercise may help build physical endurance, breathing techniques, emotional support and nutritional counseling may all help improve quality of life.
In more extreme cases, a lung transplant may be an option. For questions about qualifying for a lung transplant, you should speak with your primary care provider.
Is ILD preventable?
Interstitial lung disease can be triggered by many different things — including airborne toxins in the workplace, drugs and some types of medical treatments. In most cases, the causes are unknown. Since the cause may not be known, it’s difficult to know if ILD is preventable.
We’re Here To Help
Would you like to speak with a Patient Care Specialist at Centers for Respiratory Health about ILD? Whether you’re experiencing symptoms or would like to know more about prevention, we’re available to talk with you. Contact us today to schedule your free consultation.