Interstitial lung disease is a category of diseases that affects the thickness of the interstitium around the lungs. The interstitium is the connective tissue between the air sacs of the lungs. An interstitial lung disease usually causes scarring of the lung tissue and if left untreated can oftentimes lead to pulmonary fibrosis. Hundreds of thousands of individuals are affected by some form of an interstitial lung disease every year.
There are a number of factors that may cause a patient to have an interstitial lung disease. One of the most common reasons would be prolonged exposure to hazardous materials. Usually, this includes but is not limited to asbestos, tobacco, coal dust and mold.
The major symptom of having an interstitial lung disease is a shortness of breath. Other symptoms may include a dry cough and in some cases weight loss. Individuals who have not gotten treatment may see these symptoms get worse over time.
Treatment of an interstitial lung disease varies from patient to patient depending on the severity and cause of the disease. CT scans and X-rays are first performed to try and identify the problem. In some cases simply identifying and avoiding the irritant causing the problem can help alleviate the symptoms. Most of the time an interstitial lung disease requires a physician to determine whether or not a patient may require antibiotics or in more severe cases, supplemental oxygen. If symptoms are severe a lung tissue sample is required to help determine a specific disease that is affecting the patient. Southern California Pulmonologists and Intensivists Network offers a team of highly trained physicians who specialize in the evaluation and treatment of interstitial lung diseases.
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