Interstitial Lung Disease

Pulmonology Group LLC

Pulmonology, Critical Care & Sleep Medicine Specialists located in Las Vegas Area, Henderson, NV & Bullhead City, AZ

Interstitial lung disease is an umbrella term that includes more than 200 different conditions. Due to their complex nature, the challenge of diagnosing the underlying causes, and their progressive nature, interstitial lung diseases require the attention of an expert like Vikas Sayal, MD, FCCP, at Pulmonology Group LLC Lung Specialist. If you develop shortness of breath or a persistent dry cough, call the office in Henderson, Nevada, or use online booking to schedule an examination and receive customized treatment.

Interstitial Lung Disease Q & A

What is interstitial lung disease?

All of the different interstitial lung diseases start with inflammation that causes scarring (called fibrosis) in the tissues around air sacs in your lungs.

The scarring permanently damages the air sacs, as well as tissues and capillaries surrounding them. When the air sacs stop functioning, oxygen no longer travels from your lungs into your bloodstream.

The inflammation that leads to interstitial lung disease may begin elsewhere in the lungs and cause problems with other structures. For example, it may start as:

  • Bronchiolitis (which is the inflammation of small airways)
  • Alveolitis (which is inflammation of the air sacs)
  • Vasculitis (inflammation of small blood vessels in the lungs)

Once you develop interstitial lung disease, the condition is chronic, but its progression is unpredictable. In some patients, symptoms remain mild or moderate for a long time; others may experience rapid worsening.

What symptoms might I develop due to interstitial lung disease?

You may experience one or more of these symptoms:

  • Shortness of breath
  • Dry cough
  • Fatigue
  • Chest discomfort
  • Loss of appetite
  • Weight loss

These symptoms may signal a variety of different lung problems or medical conditions, so it’s important to see Dr. Sayal for a full evaluation.

What causes interstitial lung disease?

In the most common type of interstitial lung disease, called idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis, the cause is unknown. When the cause is known, it’s usually due to exposure to agents that damage lungs or an underlying disease. These are a few examples:

  • Certain medications
  • Asbestos
  • Tobacco smoke
  • Connective tissue or collagen diseases
  • Autoimmune disease (rheumatoid arthritis and sarcoidosis)
  • Occupational pollutants (coal dust, cotton dust, and silica dust)
  • Exposure to some types of fungus, molds, and animal proteins (hypersensitivity pneumonitis)

How is interstitial lung disease treated?

As a top lung specialist in Las Vegas, Dr. Sayal closely monitors your condition for signs of changes and adjusts your treatment as needed. Scarred lung tissue can’t be treated, however medications to reduce inflammation may prevent ongoing tissue damage.

Depending on the underlying cause of your interstitial lung disease, Dr. Sayal may prescribe medications that suppress your immune system, slow disease progression, or reduce stomach acid.

If you’re diagnosed with idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis, Dr. Sayal may prescribe OFEV® or Esbriet®, which are two advanced medications proven to slow the disease’s progression.

Oxygen therapy makes breathing easier and helps prevent problems, such as high blood pressure in the right side of your heart. Dr. Sayal may also recommend pulmonary rehabilitation, which includes exercises to improve endurance and breathing techniques that improve lung efficiency.

If you develop symptoms of interstitial lung disease, call Pulmonology Group LLC Lung Specialist or book an appointment online.