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How ILD is different than other Lung Diseases

How ILD is different than other Lung Diseases Lung Institute

Is ILD the same as COPD?

Interstitial lung disease (ILD) is an umbrella term used to categorize over 100 different types of pulmonary disorders that affect the absorption of oxygen into the lungs. It includes a diverse collection of illnesses with a variety of causes, treatments and prognoses. Individuals who suffer from interstitial lung disease often have difficulty breathing and moving from place to place due to a constant feeling of shortness of breath. Disorders classified under interstitial lung disease are often characterized by scarring of the lung’s delicate tissues and a subsequent dry, pestering cough.

How is ILD Different than COPD?

Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), like ILD, is an umbrella term that encompasses both emphysema and chronic bronchitis.  However, COPD is what is known as an obstructive lung disease which means that it primarily affects the ability to both breathe in and expel air due to the tightening of your airways. In many patients, the lungs can not adequately expel the air that it takes in, this leads to residual air sitting in the lungs. In contrast, ILD is considered a restrictive lung disease versus COPD’s categorization as an obstructive lung disease. Restrictive lung diseases are marked by the inability to breathe properly due to scarring and lung damage. In the case of pulmonary fibrosis, a disease that is categorized beneath the ILD umbrella, the small air sacs of the lungs called alveoli are hardened and damaged due to damage from external particles. COPD is a disease that allows you to breathe, but due to inflammation and obstruction, not expel air well, while ILD is a disease that restricts your ability to breathe at all through scarring and damage to the lungs themselves.

Another major difference is what causes the diseases. COPD is primarily caused by smoking cigarettes over a long period of time. This is not to infer that you cannot get COPD if you don’t smoke. COPD can also be caused by pollution and a genetic disorder called Alpha-1-antitrypsin. However, the vast majority of COPD sufferers develop the disease due to smoking.

ILD is commonly idiopathic, meaning the cause is unknown. The ILD cases with known causes are typically linked to bronchiolar disorders, drug side-effects and environmental factors or is related to certain autoimmune disorders that have already developed in the patient.

Treatment for COPD and ILD

Many of the treatment recommendations for both diseases are the same. Smoking cessation is always the first step in treating a lung disease. Once you’ve visited with a pulmonologist, you will likely get prescribed some medication to help your lung function, but note that ILD does not have a known cure. It is also important that you regularly exercise your lungs and moderate your diet to help slow the progression of the disease. With all of these things, you may still not be satisfied with your ability to live a normal life.

If you are interested in an alternative treatment for ILD, stem cell therapy may be an option. Autologous stem cells, or those taken from your own body, can be reintroduced to replace damaged cells in the lungs with healthier ones. If you or a loved one is interested in stem cell therapy, the Lung Institute can help. Contact us today or call (800) 729-3065 for a free consultation.


  1. Lung Institute

    4 weeks ago


    Regardless of whether you would consider our stem cell treatment, we would not suggest you wait and see. It is a progressive disease and research has noted that the sooner one begins treatment, the more manageable it will be.
    Most doctors follow a traditional approach to treating lung disease and that means treating the symptoms of the disease and not the progression of the disease. You may be prescribed an inhaler or a nebulizer or a treatment like that. They will improve your breathing temporarily, but the disease continues to progress at its normal rate.

    Our treatments address the progression of the disease and, while it can’t be stopped, it can be slowed.

    We’re happy to answer your questions about stem cell therapy for chronic lung diseases. We have a dedicated medical team who have a wealth of knowledge about stem cells, treatment options, candidacy, cost and more. So, feel free to give us a call at (855) 313-1149. We look forward to hearing from you soon.


    The Lung Institute

  2. TIM

    4 weeks ago


  3. Phoebe

    9 months ago

    Hi D Reith,

    At the Lung Institute, we use adult stem cells derived from the patient’s own body in our treatments. All of our stem cell treatments are minimally invasive and outpatient. The first step in the process is for our highly trained medical team to extract a blood or bone marrow sample. Next, the sample is processed in our on-site lab. This is where the stem cells are separated from the other cells in the sample. After that, the stem cells are returned to the patient through an IV. Once returned, the stem cells have the potential to promote healing from within the lungs and may improve quality of life. Our treatments occur over the course of two days and require a few hours in our clinic each day. After treatment, people are able to return to their hotel accommodations or explore the local area. We’re happy to answer your questions about stem cell therapy for ILD and to help determine if you’re a candidate for treatment. Feel free to give us a call at (855) 313-1149 to speak with our dedicated medical team. We look forward to hearing from you soon.

    Best Regards,

    The Lung Institute

  4. Phoebe

    9 months ago

    Hi Brenda,

    While COPD and ILD are both types of chronic lung diseases, they are different from each other. COPD is a form of obstructive lung disease, and ILD is a form of restrictive lung disease.

    In COPD and other forms of obstructive lung disease, the lungs’ air passageways and alveoli become damaged, which can cause old air to become trapped in the lungs. This makes it harder for people to expel air from their lungs and to breathe in fresh air.

    In ILD and other forms of restrictive lung disease, the lungs become scarred, which causes them to thicken and harden. This makes it hard for the lungs to expand fully, so it’s harder for people to fill their lungs with air.

    You can read more about the differences between obstructive and restrictive lung disease by clicking here.

    We’re happy to answer your questions about stem cell therapy for ILD, so feel free to contact us at (855) 313-1149 to speak with our dedicated medical team. We look forward to hearing from you soon.

    Best Regards,

    The Lung Institute

  5. Brenda Keeley

    9 months ago

    so is copd the same as ild

  6. D Reith

    9 months ago

    What does stem cell treatment involve?for i l d.

  7. PB

    1 year ago

    Dear L. Pfefferkorn,

    Thank you for your comment and for bringing this to our attention. We’ll be sure to look into this soon.

    Best Regards,

    The Lung Institute

  8. L. Pfefferkorn

    1 year ago

    You didn’t mention systemic sclerosis (an autoimmune disease) and how it creates ILD.

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* All treatments performed at Lung Institute utilize autologous stem cells, meaning those derived from a patient's own body. No fetal or embryonic stem cells are utilized in Lung Institute's procedures. Lung Institute aims to improve patients' quality of life and help them breathe easier through the use of autologous stem cell therapy. To learn more about how stem cells work for lung disease, click here.

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