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Interstitial Lung Disease

What is interstitial lung disease (ILD)?

Interstitial lung disease is a long-term (chronic) lung disease. It happens because of damage between the air sacs in the lung. The damage scars the lung and causes breathing problems.

What are the symptoms of interstitial lung disease (ILD)?

People with ILD get short of breath and may have a dry cough. You may notice these symptoms at first when you are active. But over time, you may feel them even when you are resting. These problems may get worse slowly or very quickly.

What causes interstitial lung disease (ILD)?

ILD can have many causes. It can be caused by infections, some diseases, and some medicines. It can also be caused by breathing in dust from asbestos, coal, and silica. Smoking and breathing in tobacco smoke can also play a role. Often doctors cannot find the cause.

How is interstitial lung disease (ILD) diagnosed?

To diagnose ILD, your doctor may ask about your past health and listen to your lungs. Your doctor may do a chest X-ray, CT scan, or lung biopsy. These tests check for scarring and inflammation in the lungs. You may have blood tests, tests to see how well your lungs work, and exercise tests.

How is interstitial lung disease (ILD) treated?

ILD may be treated with medicine. Steroids can sometimes reduce the swelling of lung tissue and prevent more damage. Oxygen treatment may also help. A lung rehab program can help you learn to breathe more easily, exercise, and eat well. Sometimes a lung transplant may be an option.