Interstitial Lung Disease
What is Interstitial Lung Disease?
Interstitial lung disease 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 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.
There are a variety of causes of interstitial lung disease that range in diversity.
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, stem cell treatment for lung disease, and other forms of regenerative medicine have been found beneficial.
Interstitial lung disease is a category of lung conditions affecting the air sacs of the lungs. As previously mentioned, interstitial lung disease can either be idiopathic or be caused by a variety of factors. To determine if you are suffering from a form of interstitial lung disease, the first step is visiting your doctor for a full review of your medical history. He or she may use one or more of the following diagnosis methods: chest x-ray, blood test, CT scan, cardiopulmonary exercise testing, pulmonary functioning test, bronchoscopy and minimally invasive biopsy techniques.
- Mixed connective tissue disease
- Rheumatoid arthritis (RA)
- Sjogren syndrome
Drug-Induced from Medications:
Environmental Factors (Occupational Lung Disease):
- Coal dust
- Cotton dust
- Silica dust
- Cigarette smoke
- Radiation therapy to the chest
As interstitial lung disease is an umbrella term used to categorize a variety of disorders, in which the symptoms vary based on the individual condition. Some of the more common symptoms are shared by all interstitial lung diseases, such as shortness of breath.
Interstitial Lung Disease Symptoms:
Shortness of breath
Abnormal enlargement of fingernail base
High blood pressure (in certain cases)
Heart failure (in certain cases)
These symptoms typically develop gradually over the course of many months or years. Individuals suffering from an interstitial lung disease typically experience shortness of breath after physical activity before other symptoms, which progressively worsens. The gradual onset of these diseases causes many sufferers to dismiss their symptoms until they become debilitating. If you are experiencing any symptoms associated with an interstitial lung disease, it is important to call your doctor immediately. If you are diagnosed, the Lung Institute offers a variety of stem cell treatments and other regenerative therapies for interstitial lung diseases.
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.
Individuals who have been exposed to environmental contaminants such as asbestos, and coal, cotton and silica dust also have a higher probability of developing interstitial lung disease. Other known causes include cigarette smoking and various types of radiation therapy.
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