Interstitial Lung Diseases  

Interstitial lung disease (ILD) refers a group of chronic lung disorders. It causes the lungs to inflame and scar. This scarring makes the lung tissue stiff, which intends make it hard to get enough oxygen hence making breathing difficult. 


Though, ILD may be limited to the lung, it can be related to a condition that may affect other parts of the body, such as rheumatoid arthritis or sarcoidosis.  

This article will elaborate on the Causes of interstitial lung diseases, Symptoms, Diagnosis and Tests , treatments and prevention

Interstitial lung disease

Causes of interstitial Lung diseases 

The causes of these diseases are yet unknown however there are substances, conditions and triggers that can lead to interstitial lung disease. These conditions are

  • Infections – bacteria, viruses, or fungi can infect the interstitium 
  • Medications and drugs 
  • Radiation treatments to the chest 
  • Family history 
  • Smoking 
  • Exposure to toxic substances like coal dust, abestos fibers, mold, silica dust
  • Medical conditions like Rheumatoid arthritis, Scleroderma, Sarcoidosis

Symptoms of interstitial Lung diseases 

The symptoms of these diseases vary from one person to the other. The  symptoms may range from very mild to moderate to very severe when you have any of the lung diseases 

Here are the most common symptoms:

Interstitial lung disease
  • Shortness of breath which develops slowly, over several months. 
  • Dry and hacking cough that does not produce phlegm
  • Loss of appetite
  • Unexplained weight loss
  • Mild pain and discomfort in the chest
  • Labored breathing, which may be fast and shallow
  • Bleeding in the lungs
  • Fatigue and weakness 
  • Hemorrhage in the lungs

Diagnosis and Tests

Health providers use many methods to get a better look at your lungs. These methods including the following:

  • A physical exam. The doctor will ask if you have any systemic conditions or have had any exposure to harmful substances.
  • A lung function test to check how well your lungs are working. 
  • X Ray. A simple chest X-ray is the first test for most people with a breathing problem. 
  • Bronchoscopy. The doctor will run a tube called an endoscope through the mouth or nose to look into the airways. 
  • Blood tests to check for autoimmune diseases
  • Measurement of the blood oxygen level at rest or when active
  • Pulmonary function tests

Treatments of interstitial lung diseases

Treatment for ILDs varies depending on the type of ILD diagnosed, its cause and the severity. 

Treatments may include 

  • Medication can help decrease inflammation in the lungs. Like azathioprine, cyclophosphamide  and  others.
  • Oxygen therapy: Extra oxygen delivered through a tube in the nose can make breathing easier.
  • Pulmonary and exercise therapy: Breathing exercises and increased physical activity can improve lung fitness.
  • Lung transplant: Some people with severe cases of ILD need to a lung transplant to help prolong their lives

Interstitial lung disease has a lot of different groups of lung disorders. Most of them are long lasting, or chronic and may worsen gradually over time.  When you have any of the symptoms mentioned, it’ll be important to see your doctor for clinical studies and treatments.


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