Interstitial Lung Disease Information
For many patients who suffer from autoimmune diseases, COPD, breathing issues, and lung cancer, simply breathing can be this biggest challenge of their every day. Interstitial lung disease describes a group of lung scarring disorders, that affect one’s ability to breath, thusly making it impossible for the patient to get enough oxygen into their blood. For the most part, ILD’s causes are unknown. There have been documented cases of ILD flaring after long term exposure to hazardous chemicals, and in many rheumatoid diseases. Once lung scarring occurs, there is no way to erase the damages. Certain medicines may help slow the damage, but these patients never regain the full use of their lungs.
Below you’ll find some facts and important information about ILD.
Symptoms & Causes
There are two main symptoms of serious lung issues, and those are a persistent dry cough, and shortness of breath, especially during times of exertion. If at any time you’re experiencing these symptoms, it may be best to consult with your doctor.
ILD seems to occur more when the lungs are injured, or damaged in some way. Instead of the body healing them normally, the body overreacts, and goes off the grid. The tissue around the alveoli becomes thickened and scarred, making it difficult or impossible for oxygen to transport through your body.
Medical Conditions known to have high rates of ILD:
Most Common Pollutant Causes:
Bird and Animal Droppings
Most Common Medications Listed as Triggering Further Lung Damage:
Cytoxan and Trexall, and other Chemotherapy drugs
Heart Medications like Cordarone or Innopran
Some Antibiotics like Macrobid and Azulfidine
Complications from ILD
-High Blood Pressure in the Lungs (Pulmonary Hypertension)
-Right Sided Heart Failure (cor pulmonale)
Tests & Answers.
Getting a straight diagnosis on this can be very complicated, as they have multi-levels of issues, and underlying issues. However, there are certain tests that can rule out other issues, and prove somethings are happening.
–Chest Xray. Xrays can show damage done to the lungs, but not always. Many times the scar tissue is not picked up, or shown to be in less areas in the lungs than it truly is.
–CT Scan. These cross sectional images done by a large machine, can put together your body in layered pictures. This allows doctors to see how deep infections are, and how much tissue in your lungs and heart are being affected by the ILD.
-Echocardiogram. A sonogram on the heart, to check on it’s function and status. This test can check pressure, as well as arterial function.
Pulmonary Function Tests
–Spirometry. A breathing test, requiring one to exhale quickly and forcefully through a tube to measure how much air your lungs can hold, and how quickly the air leaves your lung.
–Oximetry. The finger probe gently squeezed on the tip of your finger that monitors the oxygen levels in your blood. This test has been proven more effective than the standard chest xray.
–Stress Test. By exercising a proscribed amount of time, and with proscribed tasks, one’s heart rate and body function is measured during said exercise.
Lung Tissue Analysis
–Bronchoscopy. During a scoping event, the doctor uses the tubs to pull a small tissue sample from your body. This sample is no larger than the head of an eraser. Sometimes these samples end up not proviing enough tissue to sample to get the correct, definitive answers.
–Bronchoalveolar Lavage. Here, your doctor flows salt water through a bronchoscope into a section of your lung, and then turns immediately to remove it. The solution that’s withdrawn contains cells from the pateints’ internal air sacs. In some cases, this works, but often is not enough information to diagnose pulmonary fibrosis.
–Surgical Biopsy. The most invasive, with the most risk. This way does ensure enough tissue is collected for study, and results. Entering with cameras and instruments between the ribs, the camera allows the doctor to visually see your lungs, as well as safely take a sample.
Treatments, Drugs, Home Changes, and More.
There are no specific drugs to combat the effects of ILD, but there are some given to help curb the further damage. Prednisone is often given first, and if that does not help, Immunosupressors are given to allow the body to relax, and stop attacking itself.
Oxygen therapy, and a gradual increase of exercise can help the body as a whole be able to handle the effects from the lack of oxygen. Exercising my help the body be able to absorb more oxygen, as well.
Lung transplants are the last resort move for young people suffering from this terrible disease.
Three ways to Improve your Health Today.
Sometimes, the hardest parts about having ILD and other autoimmune issues is the feeling of being alone. Many times family and friends just do not understand, unless they too have some incurable disease. They may tire of hearing the truth as to how you’re feeling, leaving you even more angry than before you tried to talk about it. Don’t be afraid to seek out counseling, or a support group in your area. The internet and Facebook have made such groups easy to find, and now they come with a certain amount of anonymity, too.
Please remember, I am no doctor, and if you’re having any of these issues, PLEASE GO TO YOUR DOCTOR THIS MINUTE!