When ever I open my email I see atleast one question on interstitial lung disease. I am glad that there is a significant increase in awareness about the disease. Unfortunately awareness alone can not cure this disease. This disease interstitial lung disease is a progressive disease that can only be controlled. All the medications like the corticosteroids, bronchodilators, anti-inflammatory drugs, mucolytics are only aimed at retarding the disease process and not reversing or curing the disease.
People ask me if there are any surgical options. Yes one can try a lung transplantation as one of the options provided many conditions are satisfied. Most of the surgeons are not very keen about lung transplantation as the results are not as rewarding as in COPD or cystic bronchiectasis.
My advise and opinion about this illness is now that many are getting to know about the disease they should find out ways and means to get to prevent this disease.Interstitial lung disease can be secondary to a systemic illness. This can also be caused by some drugs or dusts. They cause inflammation and scarring in the lungs that are permanent. Lung contains small sacs called alveoli that get thickened in ILD and the tissue surrounding it also gets thickened and scarred causing permanent damage. Quitting smoking can prevent ILD from worsening. In other words prevention is better than thinking of cure. Respiratory disease is a silent killer unlike heart disease which makes a big noise and is treatable disease too by surgical means. There are no satisfactory and fool proof surgical methods to cure this disease.
Another very good option to slow down or retard this disease is use of oxygen. This method unfortunately is not liked by many. Many think resort to oxygen is last step or a step before. Contrary to this belief I must add nocturnal oxygen supplementation is one of the best methods of improving quality of life if started early.