Interstitial Lung Disease

Interstitial Lung Disease is nasty and can strike people at any age, regardless of physical condition.

What is it? This is a scarring of tissue in the spaces supporting air sacs in the lungs. The 8353disease causes stiffness in the lungs, and can eventually make it impossible for the victim to get sufficient oxygen. That can presumably lead to a range of issues including dementia.

Symptoms:  Unfortunately, the symptoms can be hard to distinguish from other diseases:

  • Dry cough
  • Shortness of breath during exercise or at rest.

By the time these symptoms appear, there is probably irreversible damage to the lungs. In fact, the only known treatment for this disease is a lung transplant.

Causes:  Not all the causes of this disease are known.

The known causes include:

  • Environmental factors
    • Asbestos fibers
    • Bird protein (live pets and feather-containing products)
    • Coal dust
    • Grain dust
    • Mold from indoor hot tubs, showers and prior water damage
    • Silica dust
  • Radiation (especially the higher doses used in cancer treatment)
  • Medications
    • Chemotherapy/immunomodulating drugs, such as methotrexate and cyclophosphamide; methotrexate is also used for treatment of rheumatoid arthritis and psoriasis as well as other serious skin conditions
    • Heart medications, such as amiodarone (Cordarone, Nexterone, Pacerone), propranolol (Inderal, Inderide, Innopran), and hydralazine
    • Some antibiotics, such as nitrofurantoin (Macrobid, Macrodantin, others),  sulfasalazine (Azulfidine), sulfamethoxazole/trimethoprim (Bactrim). The last is described as a “relatively rare cause” of this disease.
    • Seizure medications such as Phenytoin (Dilantin) and carbamazepine (Tegretol)
    • Aspirin and other NSAIDS (ibuprofen, naproxen)

Air quality at home and workplace matters. Spider plants can help clear indoor pollutants. However, having someone test air quality is probably a good idea. Any water leaks need to be addressed because that’s breeding ground for mold.

Taking drugs is something you need to do wisely. Talk to your doctor about side effects and getting rid of prescriptions that you really don’t need. Once a drug has stopped helping you, it might in fact hurt you.



  1. Mayo Clinic, “Interstitial Lung Disease.”
  2. Dr. Sharon Orrange, “These Medications Could Harm Your Lungs,” Good Rx, 10 JUly 2017.

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