Interstitial lung disease refers to more than 200 different conditions that all cause lung scarring. Once your lungs are scarred, the damage is usually permanent, but early treatment from pulmonologist Raees Ahmed, MD, at Healing Lungs can slow down or stop the scarring. Dr. Ahmed has extensive experience managing this complex group of lung conditions with highly personalized treatment plans that relieve your symptoms and help maintain ongoing lung health. To schedule an appointment, use the online booking tool or call the office in Conroe, Texas.
All the different conditions under the umbrella of interstitial lung disease causes scarring in the airways and air sacs inside your lungs. The scarring, called fibrosis, damages and thickens the tissues, causes inflammation and stops your lungs from working properly.
The name, interstitial lung disease, comes from the area of your lungs that’s damaged called the interstitium. The interstitium is the space where air sacs exchange gases, sending oxygen from your lungs into your bloodstream and pulling carbon dioxide out of your bloodstream and into your lungs.
When scarring damages the interstitium, your body doesn’t get enough oxygen, and carbon dioxide can accumulate in your blood.
In many cases, the cause of interstitial lung disease can’t be determined. When the cause is identified, it’s usually due to health conditions or long-term exposure to irritants.
These are a few causes of interstitial lung disease:
Smoking increases your risk and is closely associated with several types of interstitial lung disease.
Once scarring develops, the damage can’t be reversed. As your lung damage increases, you develop symptoms such as:
Severe cases of interstitial lung disease can lead to complications such as high blood pressure in your lungs; a condition called pulmonary hypertension.
Dr. Ahmed’s first goal is to diagnose your condition and determine if a cause can be identified. This process may include a variety of tests, including blood tests, diagnostic imaging, lung function tests, and in some cases, a lung biopsy to examine samples of tissues.
Depending on the type of interstitial lung disease you have, you may need to avoid the irritants contributing to the problem. Treatment for interstitial lung disease typically includes a combination of medications, oxygen therapy, and pulmonary rehabilitation.
Dr. Ahmed may consider one of several medications that help to slow down or stabilize the disease. Patients diagnosed with one of the most common types of interstitial lung disease, idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis, often have gastroesophageal reflux disease and need medications to control acid reflux.
When you develop symptoms such as shortness of breath and a cough, call Healing Lungs or schedule an appointment online.