When we talk about chronic interstitial lung disease, we must first understand the types of interstitial lung disease and the differences. Interstitial lung disease is a broad term that is used to refer to a number of pulmonary disease that is caused by an inflammation of interstitium. This thickening or inflammation is a result of either edema (or “extra fluid” in Layman’s term) or scarring. Forms of interstitial lung disease are also varied, some of them are known to be short lived, whereas others are irreversible and chronic in nature.
What pulmonary diseases are considered chronic?
One of the pulmonary diseases which fall under the category of chronic is idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis. This disease is the chronic and extremely progressive form of scarring (fibrosis) of the interstitium – the fine tissues which serve as a support for air sacs of our lungs. The cause of idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis is still unknown even up to this date. Another pulmonary disease that should be put under the chronic category is Acute interstitial pneumonitis which is a severe interstitial lung disease that appears so suddenly and often requires those who suffer from the disease to be put on life support.
Idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis
Healthy interstitium lets the oxygen move freely through air sacs right into the bloodstream before it is finally distributed to your body’s internal organs. However, the same cannot be said for a damaged interstitium. While it is still not yet known what exactly causes the cut, once the tissue is cut, the scarred tissue will become thick just as your skin would after a cut. This thickened tissues is incredibly stiff – making it extremely difficult for oxygen to move through the air sacs and enter the bloodstream. This results in a low oxygen level. There is no available cure for this disease and symptoms do not get better over time – however with the latest treatments, sufferers may slow down the damage.
Acute interstitial pneumonitis
This rare and severe pulmonary disease may affect even a healthy individual. It is not known precisely what causes this disease, and to make things worse, there is also no known cure. Acute Interstitial pneumonitis can be fatal as the progression is very rapid, one can simply show initial symptoms (such as excessive coughing, fever, and thick mucus as well as fluid presence) one day, and the next thing you know they suffer from respiratory failure which is the primary reason why sufferers of this chronic interstitial lung disease are put on life support.