Interstitial lung disease is an umbrella term that refers to numerous conditions that affect the lungs. These conditions impact the interstitium, a section of the lungs’ anatomic composition. The interstitium is a web-like tissue that covers both lungs to safeguard the alveoli, the tiny air sacs of the lungs. Microscopic arteries make their way through this tissue, enabling the transfer of gas between the air and blood in the lungs.
Interstitial Lung Diseases
All interstitial lung conditions lead to the stiffening of the interstitium. This stiffening is due to inflammation, accumulation of excess fluid, and scar tissue. A number of interstitial lung conditions last only a short amount of time. However, there are also ones that are lifelong and incurable.
Pneumonia is one of the types that lasts for a short time. In most cases, interstitial pneumonia comes from viral, bacterial, or fungal infections of the lungs. The most prevalent cause of this type of pneumonia is mycoplasma pneumonia. Another type of pneumonia, nonspecific interstitial pneumonitis, in which the lung disease is accompanied by an autoimmune disease such as rheumatoid arthritis. In addition, hypersensitivity pneumonitis, acute interstitial pneumonitis, cryptogenic organizing pneumonia, sarcoidosis, and asbestosis also belong to the class of interstitial lung diseases.
Interstitial Pulmonary Fibrosis Treatment
Idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis (IPF) is a form of interstitial lung disease that causes scarring in the lungs due to an unidentified reason. In time, the condition worsens, leading to trouble breathing as the lungs are deprived of the oxygen they require.
Idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis affects the interstitium while not impacting the airways or arteries directly. There is a host of other interstitial lung diseases that also cause scarring and inflammation. It is critical to work closely with your primary physician to ascertain whether you have idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis or another type of interstitial lung condition. This is because they typically require different forms of treatment.
A variety of interstitial pulmonary fibrosis treatment options are available to ease symptoms. Even though pulmonary fibrosis is incurable, it is manageable if properly treated with medications.
Two main medications that aim to stop the progression of pulmonary fibrosis are nintedanib and pirfenidone. These drugs stop an act in the body that contributes to the scarring of the lungs. These two medicines also block idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis from deteriorating while allowing patients to breathe more easily.
Oxygen therapy is also a common treatment approach as it is highly effective in making breathing easier.
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