Treating Existing Conditions Helps Manage ILD
Interstitial lung disease (ILD) primarily affects your lungs, but it can also cause problems in other parts of your body. Your doctor will check to see if other organs are affected and will monitor you regularly.
Treating other existing conditions, or comorbidities, will help you and your doctor better manage ILD. You can have one or more conditions along with ILD. If you have symptoms or are worried about having other conditions, talk with your doctor.
Scar tissue in ILD can turn into lung cancer in a small number of people with ILD. Usually, they have been exposed to some harmful substance that causes ILD (like cigarette smoke or asbestos).
This type of high blood pressure occurs in the blood vessels of the lungs. Pulmonary hypertension is caused by ILD or collagen vascular disease (long-term low oxygen levels in the blood).
Right Heart Failure Due to Pulmonary Hypertension
Excess soft tissue around the neck can block your breathing when you sleep. Sleep apnea can lower your oxygen level and keep you from having restful sleep.
Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD)
Changes in the airways or tissues of the lungs make it hard to breathe. Common causes of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) are emphysema, chronic bronchitis, or asthma. These conditions can coexist with ILD.
Blood clots in the lungs can happen suddenly. They often start in the legs or the lung vessels. Multiple clots can cause shortness of breath and pulmonary hypertension.
Congestive Heart Failure
When the heart is under too much stress, it does not pump blood well to the body or the lungs. Low oxygen levels in the blood in people with ILD can stress the heart by making it work overtime. This can cause congestive heart failure.
Coronary Artery Disease
Inflammation in patients with ILD can cause fat and plaque to build up in the blood vessels that supply the heart. This makes you more likely to have a heart attack or stroke.
Stomach acid goes backward into the esophagus, causing a burning sensation in the chest. This acid can flow into the lungs and cause inflammation, which worsens ILD. It can also cause a constant cough due to irritation of the throat.
The body becomes less sensitive to insulin (the hormone that regulates blood sugar control), and there is too much sugar in the blood.
Sarcopenia (Muscle Weakness)
This is mainly loss of muscle over time. In people with ILD, it is caused by low blood oxygen, lack of exercise, long-time steroid use, inflammation, or malnutrition. Pulmonary rehabilitation and exercise can reduce loss of muscle.
This loss of muscle strength and endurance can be caused by a lack of physical activity.
Depression and Anxiety
A constant feeling of sadness that interferes with your usual routine, sometimes with anxiety and fear. Mental health disorders can have various symptoms.
If you feel sad for a long time or worry a lot about ILD, let your doctor know. Your doctor may be able to give you medication to help you feel better and help you find ways to cope.
Help Your Provider Diagnose ILD
Prepare for your appointment with a list of questions your provider may ask.
Questions to Ask Your Provider
You probably have many questions for your provider
There are treatment options for ILD, even though there isn’t a cure. Once you have a diagnosis, your provider will talk to you about potential ILD treatments.
“Living with Interstitial Lung Disease” patient education guide
This 52-page guide explores every facet of ILD that you may encounter, from diagnosis and treatment to support and myths. With the most up-to-date information available, this guide will help you and your loved ones feel confident when making decisions about your diagnosis.