Difficulty Breathing? Could It Be Interstitial Lung Disease?

If you’re experiencing difficulty breathing or a nagging cough, there’s a chance that it could be caused by interstitial lung disease. Interstitial lung disease is a group of disorders that are characterized by scarring of lung tissue. Unfortunately, by the time a person notices their impaired breathing, it may already be too late to prevent permanent lung damage. 

Below, we discuss the medical conditions that make up interstitial lung disease and when you should consult a pulmonologist in Tampa. Lifestyle changes, such as smoking cessation, eating healthy, and vaccinating against respiratory infections can go far in treating this group of disorders. But in order to properly monitor and protect your lungs from interstitial lung disease, you’ll need the expertise of a lung specialist in Tampa like Ravikanth Vydyula, M.D.

What Falls Under Interstitial Lung Disease? 

Any number of conditions can cause lung scarring and fall under the umbrella of interstitial lung disease. A few examples include idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis (lung scarring for an unknown reason), hypersensitivity pneumonitis (inflammation caused by organic dust), sarcoidosis (inflammatory disease), and asbestosis (lung disease caused by exposure to asbestos particles). Interstitial lung disease may also be triggered by animal droppings, hot tubs, autoimmune diseases, and chemotherapy treatment and medications. Other medications that may cause lung scarring include heart medications, antibiotics, and anti-inflammatory drugs. 

As you can see, the number of potential causes of interstitial lung disease is staggering. In many cases, the underlying cause is never discovered; however, that doesn’t make treatment any less important. Those that allow their symptoms to worsen run the risk of developing pulmonary hypertension, heart failure, and respiratory failure. In severe cases, a lung transplant may be the only viable treatment option remaining, which is why consulting a pulmonologist in Tampa at the first sign of trouble is so important. 

How a Pulmonologist in Tampa Treats Interstitial Lung Disease

lung specialist in Tampa will begin by running numerous tests to diagnose your condition. This may include a simple blood test to detect an autoimmune or inflammatory disease, or an imaging test to visualize the lungs. As an interventional pulmonologist, Dr. Vydyula specializes in using an endoscope to get direct imaging and ensure that there can be no question as to what’s going on inside the lungs. If needed, Dr. Vydyula can use this same procedure to remove a small tissue sample to accurately diagnose your condition. 

Although there are a number of possible causes, there are just as many possible treatments, and Dr. Vydyula will explore every one to determine the treatment option that’s right for you. Depending on the severity of your symptoms, treatment may consist of prescription medications, oxygen therapy, surgery, or any combination of the three. Living with interstitial lung disease can feel like an uphill struggle without a pulmonologist on your side. If you are worried about a nagging cough or can’t catch your breath after performing everyday tasks, schedule an appointment with Dr. Vydyula to safeguard your lung health. 

To schedule a consultation with Ravikanth Vydyula, M.D., a lung specialist  in Tampa, please request an appointment today.

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