Interstitial lung disease refers to a host of disorders that are associated with the involvement of the interstitium of the lung. The interstitium is network of tissue that supports the alveoli or air sacs and the blood vessels, to allow the exchange of gases between the air and the blood.
In general the interstitial tissue is relatively thin and thickening is caused due to accumulation of fluids, scarring and inflammation. Interstitial lung disease can be acute which is usually reversible or chronic which is usually irreversible.
Causes Of Interstitial Lung Disease
There are different causes that are associated with the development of interstitial lung disease and this is useful in categorizing the different types of lung disorders,
- Interstitial Pneumonia is caused by virus, bacteria or fungi that may affect the interstitium and cause lung damage. Mycobacterium Pneumoniae is the most common bacteria leading to interstitial pneumonia.
- Pulmonary fibrosis due to an unknown cause can also lead to scarring of the interstitium.
- Interstitial Pneumonitis is associated with an autoimmune disorder like scleroderma or rheumatoid arthritis.
- Hypersensitivity to inhaled mold, irritants or dust can lead to pneumonitis and damage to the interstitium.
- Other causes include excessive smoking, sarcoidosis (i.e. swelling of lymph nodes) due to exposure to asbestos.
Interstitial Lung Disease Symptoms
The primary symptom associated with interstitial lung disease is shortness of breath, which usually gets worse over a period of time. The other symptoms associated include,
- Cough with or without the production of sputum.
- Weight loss may be observed in individuals with tuberculosis or other bacterial infections.
Usually the symptoms develop over a period of several weeks, however in acute interstitial pneumonitis, the symptoms develop more rapidly.
Home Remedies For Interstitial Lung Disease
Various imaging studies including chest X ray or CT scans can provide an indication of the involvement of the lung while a pulmonary function test may be performed to understand the extent of damage caused to the lung tissue and its ability function effectively. A blood culture or sputum examination may be performed to identify the cause of the disease.
There are certain home remedies that might prove useful in the management of this condition, however in severe cases it is recommended that natural treatment be used in conjunction with contemporary medicine.
- Consume at least three tablespoons of turmeric each day. The active ingredient of turmeric is known to have potent anti-inflammatory properties which can help halt the progression of fibrosis and interstitial destruction. Turmeric can be consumed with milk or raw honey, both of which have a soothing effect.
- Deep breathing exercises can help enhance the lung volume and thereby alleviate some symptoms associated with breathlessness and breathing difficulty. Pranayama and Anulom-Villom is considered useful. Yoga with meditation can have additional benefits, like reducing stress.
- Include fresh fruits and fresh vegetables in your diet. A balanced diet helps boost immunity and fight bacterial or viral infections that lead to interstitial lung disease.
- Homeopathic drugs like Antimony Tart and Drosera can be useful to deal with some symptoms like breathlessness and cough. Consult a homeopathic doctor before considering the usage of these medicines.
- Alfalfa herb is considered useful in improving immunity and also helps to improve the appetite of the individual.