Some people often wonder “what is interstitial lung disease?” when the topic of this interstitium disease is brought up. The lack of understanding about what interstitial lung disease is quite unfortunate as it is considered as one of the most dangerous diseases that, when it’s not diagnosed and treated right away, can be fatal. Much like cancer, this pulmonary disease is progressive in nature, but according to various studies, when compared to cancer, interstitial pulmonary disease is much more dangerous as the life expectancy of those who suffer from this disease is shortened quite significantly. So what exactly is this silent killer and what causes them? Keep reading to gain some insight and find out all you need to know about the disease.
What is Interstitial lung disease
When it comes to Interstitial lung disease, we must first understand that the term is not used by doctors and pulmonologists to refer to one specific disease – quite the contrary, interstitial lung disease is a term that refers to various pulmonary disease and consists of a group of pulmonary diseases which shares one common factor: a thickening of thin layers of tissue that can be found in between our air sacs – called interstitium. A normal Interstitium normally appears on X rays as a sponge-like lace that is extremely thin. When someone is diagnosed with interstitial lung disease, regardless of the exact type of their disease, their interstitium is inflamed or thickened and instead of a thin line on X rays, it appears as an irregular thick sponge.
Causes and symptoms of interstitial lung disease
There is an extensive list of what causes interstitial lung disease, although a great number of pulmonary disease listed under interstitial lung disease classification has an idiopathic cause, some of them can also be caused by environmental factors such as silica dust and mold, toxins, other chronic disease, as an adverse effect of treatment such as cancer’s chemotherapy, and also infections. This disease may not develop overnight since it develops and progresses gradually, but the fact that interstitial lung disease damages the interstitium greatly affects the sufferer. Prolonged dry cough and shortness of breath are two symptoms that can be found in those who suffer from this pulmonary disease. Although these symptoms can be used to assist medical professionals during diagnosis, it’s worth noting on this what is interstitial lung disease article that it’s impossible to precisely diagnose interstitial lung disease without X rays and other types of imaging.