Interstitial lung disease includes a large group of more than 200 conditions that permanently damage your lungs. Because these diseases are hard to diagnose and they progressively damage your lungs, you’ll need the expertise of Dr. Amanuel Sima, MD, a pulmonary specialist with offices in Beverly Hills and Inglewood, California. If you develop symptoms such as shortness of breath and fatigue, call one of the offices or schedule an appointment online.
All types of interstitial lung disease begin with inflammation that causes scarring in the air sacs in your lungs. This scarring, called fibrosis, permanently damages the air sacs along with the surrounding tissues and capillaries.
Air sacs have the vital job of transferring gasses. They take carbon dioxide out of your bloodstream so it can be expelled through your lungs, and they release oxygen from your lungs into the bloodstream.
When scarring stops air sacs from functioning, your body doesn’t receive enough oxygen. Additionally, carbon dioxide can build up in your blood.
Interstitial lung disease is a chronic condition, but its progression is different for each person. Some patients have mild symptoms for years, while symptoms may rapidly deteriorate in others. The symptoms of interstitial lung disease include:
Since these are general symptoms that could signal many different problems, it’s important to schedule an appointment with Dr. Sima to have a thorough examination and get a proper diagnosis.
The most common type of interstitial lung disease is idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis. Idiopathic means that the cause of your fibrosis can’t be determined. When Dr. Sima can identify a cause, it’s usually exposure to substances or diseases that damage your lungs, such as:
Though not as common, you may also develop interstitial lung disease from hypersensitivity to mold.
To diagnose interstitial lung disease, Dr. Sima may perform blood tests, a CT scan, and pulmonary function testing. Lung tissue that’s already scarred can’t be healed, but he can prescribe medications that reduce inflammation and help prevent ongoing tissue damage. Additionally, he treats the underlying cause when one is identified.
Many patients use oxygen therapy to improve their breathing. Dr. Sima may also recommend pulmonary rehabilitation. During pulmonary rehabilitation, you’ll learn breathing techniques that improve your lung capacity and boost your tolerance for exercise.
If you develop symptoms such as shortness of breath and fatigue, call Dr. Amanuel Sima, MD, or schedule an appointment online.