Interstitial Lung Disease

What is Interstitial Lung Disease?

Interstitial lung disease is an umbrella term used to categorize more than 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 prognosis. Individuals who suffer from interstitial lung disease often have difficulty breathing and moving from place to place due to a consistent feeling of shortness of breath. Disorders classified under interstitial lung disease are often characterized by scarring of the lung’s delicate tissues and a dry, pestering cough. Typically, interstitial lung disease creates inflammation and scar tissue in the lungs that obstructs the airways. Because it is a progressive disease, it can worsen over time. While there is no cure for interstitial lung disease, there are many treatment options available that target the symptoms of this condition and help you to regain some of the quality of life you have lost due to the progressiveness of this disease. The key to treating interstitial lung disease is to identify the symptoms and diagnose the condition early. If you suspect that you or a loved one has interstitial lung disease, please read through the information in this article and contact us with questions you may have about the condition. We are here to help you find answers and walk you through the treatment options available to you.

Symptoms of interstitial lung disease

Because the term interstitial lung disease covers a large amount of chronic lung diseases, the symptoms may vary from person to person. However, some of the most telling symptoms of interstitial lung disease include:
  • Chronic cough, dry or mucus-y
  • Constant fatigue
  • Change in nail color
  • Shortness of breath
  • Pressure in chest
These symptoms should be taken seriously, as they may indicate the presence of a chronic, progressive lung disease. If you experience any or all of these symptoms, you should schedule an appointment with your doctor immediately to determine the cause of your symptoms and the best method of treatment.

Causes of interstitial lung disease

Individuals who have been exposed to environmental contaminants such as asbestos, and coal, cotton and silica dust have a higher probability of developing interstitial lung disease. Other known causes include cigarette smoking and various types of radiation therapy. The chemicals breathed in through cigarettes and harmful environmental elements are the leading factors of scar tissue and inflammation in the lungs. The best way to avoid the development of interstitial lung disease is to stop smoking and to wear a respirator when working on job sites with harmful dust, minerals and chemicals. By OSHA standards, jobs are required to provide you with respirators when harmful chemicals are present. However,  interstitial lung disease may also develop without a known cause, and in that case it is known as idiopathic. The most common form of idiopathic interstitial lung disease is pulmonary fibrosis. As interstitial lung disease is a progressive disorder, identifying a known cause for the disease is especially important. Due to the fact that interstitial lung disease can be caused by environmental factors, removing these triggers may slow the progression of the disease and damage to the lungs. If the disease is idiopathic, cellular therapy for lung disease, and other forms of regenerative medicine have been found beneficial. Because interstitial lung disease can develop without a known cause, everyone faces the potential risk of developing one of the diseases in this category. Men, women and children of all ages can potentially develop some form of ILD. Those afflicted with autoimmune diseases such as lupus, rheumatoid arthritis and scleroderma have an above average risk.

Diagnosing interstitial lung disease

To diagnose interstitial lung disease, your doctor will have you complete a series of tests to confirm the condition and also to determine your best route of treatment. Your appointment will likely begin with a conversation about your family’s medical history, as well as your medical history and lifestyle, i.e smoking and occupational hazards. After this conversation, your doctor may give you a physical examination where he/she listens to your lungs to determine if there is an obstruction in your airways. You may also be asked to perform a pulmonary function test, which involves breathing into a special mouthpiece that measures your lung capacity and function. In some cases, your doctor may recommend X-rays and lab work to confirm an interstitial lung disease diagnosis.

Treatment for interstitial lung disease

While some doctors recommend more traditional treatments for interstitial lung disease, such as inhalers, medication and oxygen therapy, other doctors lean toward the regenerative side of medicine. Traditional treatments are not proactive; they do not help prevent symptoms from occurring, but instead they aim to calm the symptoms when they do happen. Regenerative treatment, such as the cellular therapy offered at the Lung Health Institute, is proactive in helping to reduce the occurrence of symptoms altogether so you can live your best life. Our cellular therapy is proven effective to help target and reduce inflammation in the lungs so you can Breathe Easier. See what our patients have to say about the quality of life they have found after undergoing cellular therapy. In fact, 85 percent of our patients^ report an improvement in quality of life within just three months of receiving treatment. If you would like to find out more about our available treatment options, please contact one of our patient care coordinators today at (888) 510-9356 to schedule a free consultation. Penny K

Penny K. | Omaha, NE | COPD & Emphysema

“I can go to church and sing! It’s wonderful!”

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