Kamal Anjum, MD, FCCP
Pulmonary Medicine & Critical Care located in Hollywood, FL
Interstitial lung disease is a generic name for a large group of lung conditions that cause scarring in your lungs. Since the scarring is permanent, early treatment from the practice of K. Anjum, MD, FCCP, is essential to relieve your symptoms, slow down the progressive scarring, and maintain your lung health. If you develop symptoms like a dry cough or shortness of breath, call the office in Hollywood, Florida, or use online booking to schedule an appointment with Dr. Kamal Anjum.
Interstitial Lung Disease Q & A
What is interstitial lung disease?
As interstitial lung disease causes scarring, called fibrosis, the affected tissues in your lungs become inflamed and thickened or stiff, preventing them from working properly. The scarring typically begins in an area of your lungs called the interstitium, which is where oxygen and carbon dioxide are exchanged.
Damage to the interstitium means your body doesn’t get enough oxygen and that carbon dioxide stays in your bloodstream rather than being exhaled through your lungs. In some types of interstitial lung disease, scarring that begins in the interstitium may progress toward the center of the lungs.
What causes interstitial lung disease?
The cause of interstitial lung disease can’t be identified in many patients. However, the disease can develop due to:
- Autoimmune diseases
- Connective tissue diseases
- Exposure to asbestos
- Certain medications
- Inhaling occupational irritants (dust, chemicals, fumes)
Cigarette smoking is also closely associated with several types of interstitial lung disease.
What symptoms develop due to interstitial lung disease?
Once your lungs are scarred, the damage can’t be reversed. Over time, the scarring worsens, leading to symptoms such as:
- Dry cough
- Shortness of breath
- Chest discomfort
Interstitial lung disease may cause complications such as pulmonary hypertension, which is high blood pressure in your lungs.
What treatment might I receive for interstitial lung disease?
During your initial visit, the team reviews your medical history, performs a physical exam, and may order a variety of tests to diagnose your condition and to determine the underlying cause of your disease, if possible. These tests may include blood tests, diagnostic imaging, lung function tests, and in some cases, a lung biopsy.
The first line of treatment for interstitial lung disease is creating a plan to avoid the irritants that are contributing to the problem. Then your personalized treatment may include a combination of medications and possibly oxygen therapy, depending on the overall health of your lungs.
Several types of medications are available to slow down or stabilize some types of interstitial lung disease. Your disease may also be accompanied by other health conditions that need treatment. For example, patients with one of the most common types of interstitial lung disease, idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis, often have acid reflux.
When you struggle with symptoms such as shortness of breath or an ongoing cough, call K. Anjum, MD, FCCP, or schedule an appointment online.