Interstitial Lung Disease Treatment
In some cases of interstitial lung disease, the symptoms can be reversed simply by eliminating exposure to the toxins or drugs that initially cause the disorder. In more advanced cases, damaged lung tissue cannot be reversed and requires medication, therapy, surgery or even a lung transplant. Treatment depends on the cause, if known, and severity of the disease. The cessation of smoking, however, is essential in all forms of treatment.
Taking Care of Interstitial Lung Disease with Medication
Medications currently available for interstitial lung disease typically treat the symptoms of the disease and often come with considerable side effects. Most commonly, corticosteroid drugs are given in an attempt to reduce inflammation. They seldom improve lung function for those with idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis and, taken for long periods, can cause glaucoma, bone loss, high blood sugar levels and susceptibility to infection. Other drugs – azathioprine, acetylcysteine and anti-fibrotics – may help reduce development of scar tissue and other infections, but come with risks of more serious side effects.
Taking Care of Interstitial Lung Disease with Therapy
Therapy for interstitial lung disease is designed specifically to make you more comfortable and to improve lung function. Oxygen therapy cannot stop lung damage, but it can make breathing and exercise easier and prevent or lessen complications due to low oxygen levels. Pulmonary rehabilitation is designed to treat the disease and to improve daily functioning. This program, usually administered by a team of WellStar pulmonary professionals, provides support, education about proper breathing methods, energy-saving habits and nutrition and diet guidelines.
Taking Care of Interstitial Lung Disease with Surgery
In rare cases, your WellStar physician may recommend a lung transplant if you would not benefit from any other treatment options.