Interstitial Lung Diseases

Interstitial lung disease is the name for a large group of diseases that inflame or scar the lungs. The inflammation and scarring make it hard to get enough oxygen. The scarring is called pulmonary fibrosis.

Breathing in dust or other particles in the air is responsible for some types of interstitial lung diseases. Specific types include

  • Black lung disease among coal miners, from inhaling coal dust
  • Farmer's lung, from inhaling farm dust
  • Asbestosis, from inhaling asbestos fibers
  • Siderosis, from inhaling iron from mines or welding fumes
  • Silicosis, from inhaling silica dust

Other causes include autoimmune diseases or occupational exposures to molds, gases, or fumes. Some types of interstitial lung disease have no known cause.

Treatment depends on the type of exposure and the stage of the disease. It may involve medicines, oxygen therapy, or a lung transplant in severe cases.

Symptoms of Interstitial Lung Diseases

The following features are indicative of Interstitial Lung Diseases:
  • dry cough
  • shortness of breath at rest or with exertion
It is possible that Interstitial Lung Diseases shows no physical symptoms and still is present in a patient.

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Common Causes of Interstitial Lung Diseases

The following are the most common causes of Interstitial Lung Diseases:
  • autoimmune diseases
  • exposure to organic and inorganic agents in the home or workplace
  • chemotherapy medications
  • heart medications
  • antiinflammatory drugs
  • long-term exposure to a number of toxins and pollutants

Risk Factors for Interstitial Lung Diseases

The following factors may increase the likelihood of Interstitial Lung Diseases:
  • adults
  • infants
  • children
  • family history
  • exposure to occupational and environmental toxins
  • exposure to radiation and chemotherapy
  • exposure to immunomodulatory drugs
  • smoking

Prevention of Interstitial Lung Diseases

Yes, it may be possible to prevent Interstitial Lung Diseases. Prevention may be possible by doing the following:
  • limit exposure to toxins

Occurrence of Interstitial Lung Diseases

Number of Cases

The following are the number of Interstitial Lung Diseases cases seen each year worldwide:
  • Widely occurring between 500K - 1 Million cases

Common Age Group

Interstitial Lung Diseases can occur at any age.

Common Gender

Interstitial Lung Diseases can occur in any gender.

Lab Tests and Procedures for Diagnosis of Interstitial Lung Diseases

The following lab tests and procedures are used to detect Interstitial Lung Diseases:
  • Chest X-ray: To evaluate the progression of disease
  • Computerized tomography scan: To assess the extent of lung damage caused by interstitial lung disease
  • Echocardiogram: To determine the abnormal pressures in the right and left sides of the heart
  • Oximetry: To calculate the oxygen saturation in the blood during and while walking
  • Spirometry and diffusion capacity: To know how easily oxygen can move from the lungs into the bloodstream
  • Bronchoscopic biopsy: To diagnose the interstitial lung disease
  • Surgical biopsy: To locate the lungs on a video monitor while removing tissue samples from your lungs

Doctor for Diagnosis of Interstitial Lung Diseases

Patients should visit the following specialists if they have symptoms of Interstitial Lung Diseases:
  • Pulmonologist

Complications of Interstitial Lung Diseases if untreated

Yes, Interstitial Lung Diseases causes complications if it is not treated. Below is the list of complications and problems that may arise if Interstitial Lung Diseases is left untreated:
  • pulmonary fibrosis
  • acute exacerbation
  • gastroesophageal reflux disease
  • pulmonary hypertension
  • hypoxemia
  • respiratory failure

Procedures for Treatment of Interstitial Lung Diseases

The following procedures are used to treat Interstitial Lung Diseases:
  • Surgery: Treating the interstitial lung disease
  • Oxygen therapy: Makes breathing and exercise easier and lowers the complications from low blood oxygen levels

Self-care for Interstitial Lung Diseases

The following self-care actions or lifestyle changes may help in the treatment or management of Interstitial Lung Diseases:
  • Avoid smoking: Avoid smoking to keep the lungs healthy
  • Eat well: Increase nutritionally rich diet intake
  • Regular exercise: To avoid deconditioning
  • Get vaccinated against respiratory infections

Patient Support for Treatment of Interstitial Lung Diseases

The following actions may help Interstitial Lung Diseases patients:
  • Support groups: Join online support groups to know about other's experiences with the same condition

Time for Treatment of Interstitial Lung Diseases

While time-period of treatment for each patient may vary, below is the typical time-period for Interstitial Lung Diseases to resolve if treated properly under an expert supervision:
  • Disease cannot be treated but only maintained or effects reduced

Last updated date

This page was last updated on 2/04/2019.
This page provides information for Interstitial Lung Diseases.
Lung Diseases
Occupational Health
Pulmonary Fibrosis
Pulmonary Rehabilitation

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