Interstitial Lung Disease - Symptoms

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What are the symptoms of interstitial lung disease?

Decreased lung function is the result of the inflammation present in the supporting interstitial tissues, which leads to scarring and thickening. This is because the thickened and stiff tissues cannot breathe as effectively as healthy lung tissue. Symptoms, therefore, are related to the reduced efficiency of breathing and corresponding reduced levels of oxygen in the blood.

The symptoms depend to a certain extent upon the exact cause of the condition, but shortness of breath and a dry cough are the most common symptoms. In most cases, these symptoms develop gradually. Signs of chronically reduced oxygen levels in the blood include clubbing (a painless enlargement of the fingertips) and an enlarged heart.

Interstitial lung disease can lead to serious long-term complications. Pulmonary hypertension, a type of high blood pressure that affects the arteries within the lungs, may develop. Ultimately, right-sided (the side of the heart that pumps blood back to the lungs to receive oxygen) heart failure may result (known as cor pulmonale). Respiratory failure is a potentially fatal long-term complication of interstitial lung disease.

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See what others are saying

Comment from: p.m.roy west bengal, 55-64 Male (Patient) Published: May 13

I was first diagnosed with ILD in 2007 in India. At first I was taking medication and started yoga exercise medicine per month, and I stared Yoga exercise as per directed. As a result, gradually every six months, the doctor reduced my medication. At my most recent doctor's visit, he said I require no more medicine. I've become stable over the last two years. I suggest all ILD patients start yoga exercise and also continue the medicine, as per advice from the doctor.

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Comment from: Leavemealone, 55-64 Male (Patient) Published: March 21

I was first diagnosed with interstitial lung disease in 2006. I was admitted to the hospital for pneumonia and was very sick with a fever, chest pains and unable to eat. I spent the next week in the hospital, where they did all kinds of tests, including a bronchoscopy. I was diagnosed with ILD. I researched the disease and was told by my pulmonologist that life expectancy for my stage was about 4 to 5 years. I did not have any treatment except oxygen therapy until 2009. I tried prednisone and gained lots of weight over the next eight months. I had a heart attack in November of 2009 and the doctor told me I needed to lose weight. Over the next two years, I lost 70 pounds, but had two more heart attacks and stents put in. I now have three stents and am on 6 liters of oxygen. I'm hoping to get a lung transplant. I've been diagnosed with terminal end-stage lung disease and hope I get this operation. If not, it's been seven years since I was first diagnosed and I am still cutting the rug. Good luck if you have or get this disease.

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