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Lung diseases

Interstitial lung disease

04/03/2007

Question:

My father has been diagnosed with Intertitial lung disease. No one knows what the cause was. He was diagnosed two years ago. What would the prognosis be? How much longer could he live with this disease? Are there any new treatments that could help him to live longer? Also he is now on oxygen therapy, but still seems to have problems breathing, do you have any suggestions?

Answer:

There are many causes of interstitial lung disease. Some are treatable and others are relatively untreatable. Having a confident diagnosis is critical. This sometimes requires a lung biopsy to be completely sure. One of the most common causes of interstitial lung disease is idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis which is difficult to treat and often fatal. Pulmonary rehabilitation and supplemental oxygen can be helpful to all patients with advanced interstitial lung disease. In your father's case, the first step should be to ask his physician if the specific type of interstitial lung disease has been confidently established.

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Response by:

James N Allen, Jr, MD James N Allen, Jr, MD
Clinical Professor of Pulmonary, Allergy, Critical Care & Sleep Medicine
College of Medicine
The Ohio State University