Many different lung conditions are in this category. It is a generalized term to describe them. All interstitial lung diseases affect the interstitium. This is a part of the lungs' anatomic structure. It is a network of tissue that extends throughout both lungs that provides support to the lungs' air sacs. Tiny blood vessels travel through the interstitium. This allows gas exchange between blood and the air in the lungs. This interstitium is usually so thin it can't be seen on chest X-rays or CT scans.
What Are the Causes of Interstitial Lung Disease?
The cause of most interstitial lung disease is unknown. Because of this, we at Southwest Pulmonary Associates can visit with you during your appointment to determine which treatments will be appropriate for you.
Antibiotics are effective for most interstitial pneumonias. Some of them eliminate bacterias that can cause interstitial pneumonias. Viral pneumonias tend to go away on their own. Fungal pneumonias are rare, but can be treated with antifungal drugs.
Interstitial lung disease can sometimes cause ongoing inflammation causing damage and scarring. Corticosteroids can reduce the activity of the immune system, in turn reducing the amount of inflammation in the lungs and the rest of the body.
When interstitial lung disease causes low oxygen blood levels, inhaled oxygen may be the best treatment option. Regular use of oxygen has also been known to protect the heart from damage caused by low oxygen levels.
In the most advanced cases of interstitial lung disease, a lung transplant may be the best option. This can severely improve quality of life and the patient's ability to exercise.