Interstitial Lung Disease
Symptoms, risk factors and treatment of interstitial lung disease
Interstitial lung disease (ILD), also known as diffuse parenchymal lung disease, is a type of inflammation to the interstitium, or the tissue that surrounds the air sacs in the lungs. It does not affect one area of the lungs, but spreads throughout the lungs.
Interstitial lung disease is caused by a malfunctioning immune or healing reaction to various conditions and events. For example, lung infections, toxic substance exposure, radiation therapy to the chest, chemotherapy and chronic immune diseases can all cause interstitial lung disease to develop.
Interstitial Lung Disease Symptoms
Symptoms of interstitial lung disease will depend on the cause of the condition. Most commonly, symptoms include dry cough and shortness of breath. Reduced oxygen levels and difficulty breathing may also occur.
Often, symptoms of ILD will present slowly and build. They can eventually lead to serious conditions, such as pulmonary hypertension, respiratory failure, heart failure and more if left untreated.
Interstitial Lung Disease Risk Factors
Any of the root causes of interstitial lung disease can put you at higher risk for developing the condition -- for example, working around hazardous materials, such as asbestos. Other risk factors include smoking and age (ILD most often occurs in adults).
Your prior health conditions also play a large role in your risk of developing ILD. If you've had radiation or chemo to treat another disease, or you've had a prior lung condition, you could be at risk.
Interstitial Lung Disease Treatment
Like symptoms, treatment of interstitial lung disease will depend on the cause of the condition in the first place. Common treatments include corticosteroids to help reduce inflammation and immuno-suppressants to help stop the adverse reactions.
Respiratory therapy and oxygen therapy may also be used to treat the condition, and in severe cases, a lung transplant may be required. Quitting smoking is always a must for those who develop ILD.
Without intervention, interstitial lung disease is fatal. With treatment, the interstitial lung disease survival rate is still only roughly five to eight years. In cases of lung transplant, survival rates will correlate with those who receive lung transplants for other reasons. News has recently shown that the three-year survival rate for lung transplants is on the rise, up to over 80 percent, with the five-year survival rate hovering at roughly 50 percent.
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