Lung Disease (ILD) Diagnosis
We know that getting diagnosed with ILD can be a long and sometimes challenging experience, but arming yourself with information about the diagnostic process may help. Continue reading below to learn about the importance of early diagnosis, how to take an active role in the diagnostic process, and information about the tests used to reach a diagnosis.
Importance of Early
Catching ILD early is important because:
ILD may cause scarring of the lungs (commonly called pulmonary fibrosis) that progresses, which means it continues to get worse over time. You may hear this referred to as having a chronic ILD with worsening fibrosis.
As ILD progresses, the scarring of the lungs becomes worse and breathing becomes harder.
Over time, this may make everyday activities feel challenging.
The earlier an accurate diagnosis is made, the earlier you and your doctor can evaluate your management options.
How to take an active role in the diagnostic process
Because ILD isn’t widely known, it can be easy to confuse the warning signs with
That’s why it’s important to educate yourself about the disease so you can recognize early indications of ILD.
Don’t brush off symptoms
The symptoms of ILD—like shortness of breath, a dry hacking cough, and fatigue—are common, which means people often brush them off or think that they are signs of aging. Don’t underestimate these common symptoms—they could be signs of something serious, like ILD.
Push for the right diagnosis
The common symptoms also make it easy for ILD to be misdiagnosed as other conditions, like COPD, asthma, and congestive heart failure. If you’ve been diagnosed with these conditions and have symptoms that won’t get better, it’s time to ask your doctor about ILD.
ILD is relatively rare and not widely known, which is why it's important to find a specialist if you think you could have ILD. Pulmonologists commonly diagnose and manage the disease.
Test Used to Diagnose
Interstitial Lung Disease
It can be helpful and reassuring to know what to expect during your doctor’s appointment. Here are some tests your pulmonologist may use to diagnose ILD.
(HRCT) Scan of the Lungs
Lung Functions Tests
Blood test for autoimmune diseases
Chest X-ray or chest MRI
Surgical Lung Biopsy
Arterial Blood Gas
You’re not alone in this—
we’re just a phone call away.
Learning about ILD can feel overwhelming, but we’re here to help. Call Lungs&You® to speak with a dedicated nurse who can help you understand what you’re going through.