The official blog of the Lung Institute.
Living with a chronic health condition, such as lung disease, can be challenging. From navigating the healthcare industry to understanding your condition, it’s difficult to stay informed. To help you stay proactive in managing your health, we’ve broken down the facts about interstitial lung disease.
Interstitial Lung Disease Spotlight: What is interstitial lung disease?
Interstitial lung disease describes a group of disorders characterized by progressive scarring of the lung tissue between and supporting the air sacs. The scarring associated with interstitial lung disease can cause progressive lung stiffness, which can affect your ability to breathe and get enough oxygen into your bloodstream.
What are the causes and symptoms of interstitial lung disease?
The causes of interstitial lung disease are categorized into known and unknown causes. The most common known causes include autoimmune diseases like rheumatoid arthritis, exposure to occupational and organic hazards like coal dust, certain medications and radiation. However, interstitial lung disease of unknown cause is called idiopathic, and the most common form of idiopathic interstitial lung disease is pulmonary fibrosis.
Because interstitial lung disease is a term used to categorize a group of disorders, disease symptoms vary based on the individual condition. Symptoms typically develop gradually and worsen over time. Some of the more common symptoms are shared by all interstitial lung diseases, such as shortness of breath.
Interstitial Lung Disease Symptoms:
- Dry cough
- Shortness of breath
- Weight loss
- Acute pneumonia
- Joint pain
- Abnormal enlargement of the fingernail base
- High blood pressure (in certain cases)
- Heart failure (in certain cases)
What are the current treatments for interstitial lung disease?
The scarring of the lungs caused by interstitial lung disease is often irreversible. While some treatments may improve symptoms temporarily or slow down the progression of the disease, it’s important to remember that interstitial lung disease is chronic and progressive. However, there are steps you can take to help yourself feel better.
Your doctor may prescribe medications to help manage the underlying cause of the disease, such as anti-inflammatories or anti-fibrotics. Some doctors may prescribe oxygen therapy to help you receive enough oxygen into your bloodstream. Because having enough blood oxygen is essential to a properly functioning body, oxygen therapy could help you improve your blood oxygen levels. In certain cases, some physicians may recommend a lung transplant.
With advancements in medical technologies, more treatment options have become available to help promote healing within the lungs. Some people with interstitial lung disease have benefited from stem cell treatment at the Lung Institute. Because stem cells act as the body’s healing system, the body alerts these cells when they are needed. Then the body sends them to the place in the body that needs repair. However, stem cells are slow to react. In the body of someone with a chronic illness, they are even slower. The physicians at the Lung Institute realized this and developed a procedure to help stem cells do their job more efficiently.
How do I learn more about stem cell treatment for interstitial lung disease at the Lung Institute?
We hope that learning the interstitial lung disease facts help you feel more informed about your condition. We understand how challenging navigating life can be for someone with a chronic lung disease. If you’re ready to learn more about stem cell treatment options for people with chronic lung diseases at the Lung Institute, feel free to contact us today at (800) 729-3065 to speak with a patient coordinator.