Interstitial Lung Disease (ILD)
Interstitial lung disease (ILD) is a group of lung disorders in which the lung tissues become inflamed and then damaged.
The lungs contain tiny air sacs (alveoli), which is where oxygen is absorbed. These air sacs expand with each breath.
The tissue around these air sacs is called the interstitium. In people with interstitial lung disease, this tissue becomes stiff or scarred, and the air sacs are not able to expand as much. As a result, not as much oxygen can get to the body.
ILD can occur without a known cause. This is called idiopathic ILD. Idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis (IPF) is the most common disease of this type.
There are also dozens of known causes of ILD, including :
- Autoimmune diseases (in which the immune system attacks the body) such as lupus, rheumatoid arthritis, sarcoidosis, and scleroderma.
- Lung inflammation due to breathing in a foreign substance such as certain types of dust, fungus, or mold (hypersensitivity pneumonitis).
- Medicines (such as nitrofurantoin, sulfonamides, bleomycin, amiodarone, methotrexate, gold, infliximab, and etanercept).
- Radiation treatment to the chest.
- Working with or around asbestos, coal dust, cotton dust, and silica dust (called occupational lung disease).
- Cigarette smoking may increase the risk of developing some forms of ILD and may cause the disease to be more severe.
The primary signs and symptoms of interstitial lung disease are :
- Shortness of breath at rest or aggravated by exertion.
- Dry cough.
Things you can do to reduce your risk of lung diseases include :
- Stop smoking.
- Avoid secondhand smoke.
- Test for radon.
- Avoid asbestos.
- Protect yourself from dust and chemical fumes.
- Eat a healthy diet.
- Ask your doctor if you should have a spirometry test.
- Ask your doctor about protecting yourself from flu and pneumonia with vaccinations.
- See your doctor