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Interstitial Lung Disease

Interstitial Lung Disease - What is it for

Interstitial Lung Disease (ILD) is a term encompassing a diverse group of disorders that cause inflammation and scarring (fibrosis) in the lungs, resulting in stiffness and difficulty breathing.

Interstitial Lung Disease - Symptoms

  • ​Shortness of breath 
  • Cough 
  • Decreased exercise tolerance 
  • Fatigue 
  • Weight loss

Interstitial Lung Disease - How to prevent?

Interstitial Lung Disease - Causes and Risk Factors

Various factors can cause ILDs, these include: 
  • Autoimmune diseases (conditions which involve the immune system harming the body) such as systemic sclerosis, rheumatoid arthritis
  • Environmental and occupational exposures to different toxins or pollutants like bird droppings, silica
  • Familial – the disease is hereditary (passed down the family tree) 
  • Idiopathic – the cause is currently unknown

Interstitial Lung Disease - Diagnosis

When ILD is suspected, diagnostic tests such as the following may be necessary:

  • X-rays
  • CT scans 
  • Pulmonary function tests
  • Specific blood investigations
  • Bronchoscopy
  • Surgical lung biopsy

Interstitial Lung Disease - Treatments

​Treatment for ILD depends on the underlying cause. 

Medications used may include:
  • Immunosuppressants such as Corticosteroids – this reduces the amount of inflammation in your lungs and the rest of your body
  • Anti fibrotics – this helps to slow the rate of scarring (fibrosis) and deterioration in your lungs

Non-medication treatments involve:

  • Pulmonary rehabilitation programme – helps strengthen breathing muscles and manage breathing difficulties. Structured and supervised exercise training with education, support and self-management strategies
  • Oxygen therapy – supplemental oxygen may improve activity levels. In some cases, patients may require long term oxygen therapy
  • Updated vaccinations against influenza and pneumococcus reduce the risk of
    infections which can worsen breathlessness and other symptoms

Interstitial Lung Disease - Preparing for surgery

Interstitial Lung Disease - Post-surgery care

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