Symptoms of Interstitial Lung Disease
What You Can Do To Make It Better
How Do We Define Interstitial Lung Disease?
Breathing comes naturally to many of us. In doing so, we breathe in much needed oxygen into our bloodstream, which enables the body to work and grow. Almost every day, an average person will breathe in and out nearly 25,000 times. Now imagine having a lung disease and struggling just to do this very simple action. Pretty scary if you think about it!
One such lung disease is that of interstitial lung disease. Interstitial lung disease is an umbrella term used to classify a family of about 100 diverse types of pulmonary conditions that impede the normal absorption of oxygen in the lungs. All of these conditions have an effect on the interstitium, which is the tissue and space around the alveoli—the cluster-like air sacs—in the lungs. The interstitium is usually relatively invisible, but when an individual has interstitial lung disease, the interstitium becomes progressively scarred and more visible. This scarring is characteristic of the entire family of diseases encompassed by interstitial lung disease. The scar tissue affects the ability for oxygen to pass from the lungs into the bloodstream.
Symptoms of Interstitial Lung Disease
As stated above, interstitial lung disease has 100 types of pulmonary conditions. So you can imagine that the symptoms of interstitial lung disease are bound to vary from each case. Thankfully some research has found that there are some very common symptoms of interstitial lung disease. Here are some of the most common ones:
- Severe or chronic coughing
- Shortness of breath
- On again/off again infections
- Excess amount of mucus
To this day, interstitial lung disease is—unfortunately—incurable, but that does not mean that it is not able to be treated. In fact, there are many treatments out there for interstitial lung disease, but these do not actually reduce any of the effects of interstitial lung disease. As an incurable disorder, the therapy is not meant to make the disease disappear, but rather therapy can be used to improve an individual’s quality of life, to reduce symptoms or to prevent the ongoing progression of the disease.
Upon diagnosis, many physicians utilize a combination of medications to suppress the immune system, but these have not proven successful. In order to help patients who are struggling to breathe, compressed oxygen can help manage shortness of breath. There are times that pulmonary rehabilitation and nutritional counseling are recommended in order to improve endurance. In severe cases, pulmonologists may resort to a lung transplant, but this invasive procedure often has limited availability and extensive requirements for eligibility.
Stem Cell Therapy for Interstitial Lung Disease
In the case of interstitial lung disease, autologous stem cells are used, meaning they come from the patient’s own body, and can be found in the patient’s venous blood or bone marrow. Stem cells derived from bone marrow or blood have the capacity to form many types of differentiated cells. During the procedure, stem cell treatment involves isolating adult stem cells from bone marrow and blood, which requires special laboratory techniques to collect them. After being extracted from the patient’s body, they are isolated. Then they are given back to the patient intravenously or through the use of a nebulizer. The treatment is minimally invasive and typically an outpatient procedure. The procedure should be performed in a clinical setting under the supervision of a professional.
It takes a physician with specific training to perform stem cell therapy adequately and safely. If you would like to find out more about ways to relieve your symptoms of interstitial lung disease, please contact one of our patient care coordinators today at (800) 729-3065 to schedule a free consultation.