Interstitial Lung Disease

Interstitial Lung Disease (ILD) describes a group of disorders, that’s cause progressive scarring of lung tissue. ILD affects your ability to breathe and get enough oxygen into your bloodstream.

ILD seems to occur when an injury to your lungs triggers an abnormal healing response. Interstitial lung disease can be triggered by many different things — including airborne toxins in the workplace, drugs and some types of medical treatments. In most cases, the causes are unknown or Idiopathic.

Many drugs can damage your lungs, especially chemotherapy drugs, heart medications, some antibiotics, anti-inflammatory drugs. Lung damage can also result from autoimmune diseases such as rheumatoid arthritis, Sarcoidosis, Scleroderma, Dermatomyositis etc. The list of substances and conditions that can lead to interstitial lung disease is long. Even so, in some cases, the causes are never found. Disorders without a known cause are grouped together under the label of idiopathic interstitial pneumonias, the most common and deadly of which is idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis.

Risk factors for ILD are age (more likely to affect adults, exposure to occupational and environmental toxins, Gastroesophageal reflux disease, smoking, radiation and chemotherapy.

Interstitial lung disease can lead to a series of life-threatening complications, including, high blood pressure in your lungs (pulmonary hypertension) and respiratory failure.

Diagnosis
Identifying and determining the cause of interstitial lung disease can be challenging. Many disorders fall into this broad category.

These tests may be necessary; blood tests, Chest CT scan, Echocardiogram, Lung function tests, bronchoscopy and at times surgical lung biopsy.

Treatment
The lung scarring that occurs in interstitial lung disease is irreversible and treatment will not always be effective. Treatments may improve symptoms temporarily or slow the disease’s progress. Sometimes patients may be enrolled in clinical trials.

Patients may benefit from supplemental oxygen, pulmonary rehabilitation. Lung transplantation may be an option of last resort for some people with severe interstitial lung disease who haven’t benefited from other treatment options.

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