Interstitial Lung Disease: What Is It All About?

Interstitial Lung Disease: What Is It All About?

Interstitial Lung Disease

[dropcap]Y[/dropcap]ou are probably more familiar with the terms lungs diseases than interstitial lung disease but in reality, they are both the same. The latter refers to the general category where there are different ailments related to lung conditions, which affecting the interstitium, the lung’s anatomic structure part.

Interstitial Lung Disease: Understanding the Ailments

Before talking about the disease, it is always better to talk about the core basic of the issue. You see, the interstitium is a tissue network with lace-like appearance extending to both of your lungs. It supports the alveoli, or the microscopic air sacs in the lungs. Very small blood vessels are moving through the interstitium so there can be gas exchange between lung’s air and blood. The interstitium alone is very thin; you won’t be able to see it in CT scans or Xrays.

When you are suffering from interstitial lung disease, it means that your interstititum is probably thickened, which can happen because of edema (excessive fluid), scarring, or inflammation. Some of the diseases can be irreversible and chronic, while some are short lived. Some of the ailments include:

Interstitial Lung Disease

  • Interstitial pneumonia. The instertitium is affected by fungi, viruses, or bacteria.
  • Idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis. It is a type of progressive and chronic scarring (fibrosis) to the interstitium.
  • Nonspecific interstitial pneumonitis. It is a condition that often accompanies autoimmune conditions, like scleroderma or rheumatoid arthritis.
  • A problem caused by exposure to asbestos
  • A problem accompanied by swollen lymph nodes and may involve eye, nerve, skin, or heart.
  • Hypersensitivity pneumonitis. A condition resulted from inhalation of mold, dust, and other irritants that is constantly happening
  • COP (Cryptogenic Organizing Pneumonia). It looks like a pneumonia but without the infection.
  • Acute interstitial pneumonitis. A severe and sudden condition that often requires life support.
  • Desquamative interstitial pneumonitis. A condition that is partially resulted from smoking.

This issue can be generally caused by talc, silica dust, asbestos, grain dust, coal dust (or other types of dust from mining activity), and also bird proteins. In some rare cases, it is possible that several medicines can trigger the symptoms but the percentage is pretty small.

Read More : Restrictive Lung Disease and the Difference with Obstructive Lung Disease

Interstitial Lung Disease and the Affected Population

The interstitial lung disease can happen to anyone, from adults to children, from men to women. The symptoms may include breathlessness, which is a short of breath that will get worse when it is not treated. Other common symptoms include dry and nonproductive cough and also weight loss. You will need to consult your doctor and have your condition checked to be sure about your condition.

Treating this ailment isn’t easy but it isn’t impossible either. You may have to take antibiotics, corticosteroids, and Imuran to treat the inflammation and suppress the bacterial activity. Inhaled oxygen can also help for people with low oxygen level. If the problem is quite severe and it hurts the lungs badly, a lung transplant may be the best solution. Keep in mind that the treatments for interstitial lung disease depend on the conditions and causes so always consult and discuss everything with your doctor.

Video created by : OSU Wexner Medical Center

Restrictive Lung Disease and the Difference with Obstructive Lung Disease

Restrictive Lung Disease and the Difference with Obstructive Lung Disease

Restrictive Lung Disease and the Difference with Obstructive Lung Disease

[dropcap]W[/dropcap]hen we are talking about the restrictive lung disease, it is always related to the obstructive lung disease because they are related to your breathing system – although they are different. In most cases, though, they may share similar symptoms although the diagnose and treatments can be different – depending on your condition, really.

Restrictive Lung Disease vs Obstructive Problem

Basically, the restrictive lung disease is the condition where the lungs can’t be fully expanded while the obstructive type is the condition where you have difficulty to exhale the air within the lung. They share the same symptoms, though: you will suffer from breath shortness and accompanied with exertion.

In obstructive lung disease, there is a difficulty to exhale the air from your lungs because of airways narrowing or lungs damage. The exhaled air will come out slower than the usual, leaving quite a high amount of remaining air within the lungs. This issue is caused by cystic fibrosis, bronchiectasis, asthma, and chronic bronchitis and emphysema. If you suffer from this issue, you will have difficulty to breathe especially when you experience an increased activity.

Restrictive Lung Disease

In restrictive lung ailment, the lungs can’t fully expand so you won’t be able to fill your lungs with air. It is usually caused by a condition where stiffness happens to your lungs. If there is a combination of weak muscles, chest wall stiffness, or damaged nerves, it will lead to the restrictive issue. Some of the common causes for this condition are scoliosis, obesity, sarcoidosis, neuromuscular disease, and interstitial lung disease.

Restrictive Lung Disease and the Diagnose

Since both of the restrictive lung disease and the obstructive type share the similar shortness of breath, doctors need to take several tests to confirm their theory. It is highly likely that you will have to go through pulmonary function test, the X-ray photo, and also the CT-scan. If doctors are still unsure, it is possible that they may want you to undergo bronchoscopy, which includes biopsies to be sure.

The common symptoms of these lung diseases are:

  • Breath shortness with exertion
  • Coughing which can be either dry or with white sputum production
  • Anxiety or depression because of the limited activities that people can do with such a condition

Read More : Getting to Know About the Lungs and Lung Diseases

Restrictive Lung Disease Treatments

For this ailment, there are some medicines designed to treat the symptoms. Ofev and Esbriet, for instance, can help with the scarring of the lung tissues. If the disease happens because of the inflammation, medicines like Methotrexate, Azathioprine, Cyclophosphamide, and Corticosteriods can be used to suppress the immune system.

It is also possible to use the supplemental oxygen therapy, including the mechanical breathing machine. Such a BiPAP (the non invasive positive pressure ventilation) mask can also help to make the patients breathe easier and better. If the issue is caused by obesity, it is possible that doctors include exercise and weight loss in the treatment. You need to have a thorough and complete discussion with your doctor concerning the restrictive lung disease treatments if you want to gain satisfying result.

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