Interstitial Lung Disease (ILD) is a broad term that reflects various lung conditions. All types of interstitial lung diseases cause thickening of the interstitium which may be a result of inflammation, scarring, or extra fluid (edema).
The interstitium is a tissue that extends as a lace-like network throughout both the lungs. The interstitium affords support to alveoli, microscopic air sacs of the lungs. Numerous, extremely thin blood vessels channeling through the interstitium, allow exchange of gases between blood and air in the lungs. Generally, the interstitium is so thin that it can't be observed on CT scans or chest X-rays.
Diagnosis and treatment
The course of treatment for ILD is decided on the basis of the diagnosis and may vary depending upon the diagnosis. Frequent hospitalizations for respiratory problems are common events and are often associated with death. The highly skilled physicians of Metro Centre for Respiratory Diseases master in the diagnosis and treatment of diseases concerning the respiratory system. The experts care for people with an extensive range of conditions such as Asthma, Bronchitis, Emphysema, Complicated Chest Infections and Lung Cancer.
Early diagnose and treatment of ILD is very important as it can result in respiratory failure. Whatever may be the cause of ILD, the objectives of treatment are:
- To decrease inflammation and keep the lungs from scarring further,
- To eliminate the root cause of the problem,
- To reduce and cope up with potential complications and
- To perk up or check decline in a person's quality of life.
Medication based treatment for ILD attempts to make breathing more gratifying, decrease inflammation, and curb hyperactivity of immune systems. ILD treatment falls into two categories based on its underlying cause: anti-inflammatories or anti-fibrotics. Interstitial lung disease that is mediated by a known inflammatory or autoimmune response may improve by administering immunosuppressant or anti-inflammatory medications. If there is a known exposure, circumventing the stimulating agent is a primary step to treatment. Specifically, for the treatment of idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis, two medications namely, Ofev (nintedanib) and Esbriet (pirfenidone) have been approved by FDA.
ILD may cause oxygen level in the blood to fall. Some patients may require oxygen therapy throughout while others may need it only during exercise and sleep. Improving blood oxygen level by employing supplemental oxygen is helpful in relieving the tension on the heart and lungs. It also improves symptoms of shortness of breath and weariness.
A pulmonary rehabilitation helps you in achieving your optimum level of functioning. This program takes into account education, breathing techniques, exercise conditioning, energy saving techniques, nutritional counseling, respiratory therapy evaluation, and psychosocial support.
In extreme cases where damage done to the lungs can’t be reversed, lung transplantation may be recommended. With advanced surgical methods and post-transplant care, it may put forward an improved quality of life and lengthened survival chances to selected patients.
Response to treatments varies extensively. Some forms of ILD may improve quickly with one kind of treatment while others may not respond at all. Treatment is regarded successful if it stabilizes the symptoms as well as the physiological and x-ray findings.