Diffuse interstitial lung disease : Treatment

Treatment

Treatment depends on the cause of the disease. Anti-inflammatory drugs, such as corticosteroids or drugs that suppress the immune system, are prescribed if an autoimmune disease is causing the problem.

If there is no specific treatment for the condition, therapy is aimed at making you more comfortable and supporting lung function.

  • If you smoke, ask the doctor or nurse about referring you to someone who can help you stop smoking.
  • People with low blood oxygen levels will receive oxygen therapy in the home. A respiratory therapist will help you set up oxygen for use in the home or outside of the home. Families need to learn proper storage and safety, and how to keep an oxygen supply available.
  • Lung rehabilitation can provide support, including teaching patients different breathing methods, how to set up the home to save energy, and how to eat enough calories and nutrients.

Some patients with advanced ILD may need a lung transplant.

Support Groups

For additional information and resources, see lung disease support group.

Prognosis (Expectations)

Chances of recovery or the disease getting worse depend on the cause, and how severe the disease was when it was first diagnosed.

Complications

  • Pulmonary hypertension
  • Respiratory failure
  • Right-sided heart failure (cor pulmonale)

Calling Your Health Care Provider

Call your health care provider if:

  • Your breathing is getting harder, faster, or more shallow than before
  • You cannot get a deep breath, or need to lean forward when sitting
  • You are having headaches more often
  • You feel sleepy or confused
  • You have a fever
  • You are coughing up dark mucus
  • Your fingertips or the skin around your fingernails is blue


Review Date : 1/22/2010
Reviewed By : Allen J. Blaivas, DO, Clinical Assistant Professor of Medicine, UMDNJ-NJMS, Attending Physician in the Division of Pulmonary, Critical Care, and Sleep Medicine, Department of Veteran Affairs, VA New Jersey Health Care System, East Orange, NJ. Review provided by VeriMed Healthcare Network. Also reviewed by David Zieve, MD, MHA, Medical Director, A.D.A.M., Inc.

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