What Are The Lifestyle Changes For Interstitial Lung Disease?

Interstitium is the area around the alveolar sac and the blood vessels and it is this area which is responsible for the exchange of gases in and out of the blood vessels from the alveolar sac. When an abnormality, due to any disease, occurs in this area, the capacity of lungs in providing oxygen reduces. As this disease is related to the inflammation of the interstitium of the lungs, it is known as interstitial lung disease (ILD). The patient may experience shortness of breath and fatigue. The symptoms may also depend upon the underlying disease due to which there is inflammation and scarring in the interstitium.

What Are The Lifestyle Changes For Interstitial Lung Disease?

As the interstitial lung disease reduces the capacity of the lungs to transfer the oxygen in the blood, the approach is to increase the power of the lungs. Increasing the power of the lungs means to increase the capacity of the muscles associated with the lungs. Though the medication for interstitial lung disease will work to manage the disease, there are certain other non-medication methods through which the disease can be managed. The most important method in this context is the lifestyle changes. The lifestyle modification may include the exercise of the lungs, maintaining the environment surrounding the patient and maintaining a healthy diet.

Following are the lifestyle changes that should be adopted by the patient to manage the interstitial lung disease more effectively:

  1. Exercise: The lung muscles should be strengthened to compensate the loss of functioning due to the low exchange of gases in interstitial lung disease. There are various exercises available to provide strength to the lung muscles such as yoga, aerobics and deep breathing exercises. The type of exercise depends upon the lost capacity of your lungs. Further, these exercises should be done under expert monitoring and the heart rate should be under close watch. The services of pulmonary rehabilitation center can be taken.
  2. Environment: The environment plays a major role in the functioning of lungs. If the environment gets polluted, the amount of oxygen inhaled will be less and will further aggravate the situation. Thus, the patient of interstitial lung disease should be provided a pollution free environment. Moreover, air-purifier can be used to make the air free from contamination. Further, the patient also has dry cough which become more sever in dry air. So, having a humidifier is another option.
  3. Smoking Cessation: Smoking should be immediately stopped in case any level of interstitial lung disease is diagnosed as this may further increase the severity of the condition.
  4. Minimizing Obesity: Obesity has also its effect on the interstitial lung disease. So, patients are advised to reduce the obesity level.
  5. Diet: Dietary components also exert their impact on the severity of interstitial lung disease. A balance and nutritious diet help to remove toxins out of the body and also reduces inflammation.

Types Of Interstitial Lung Disease

Following are the types of interstitial lung disease, the progression of which varies according to the underlying cause of the disease:

  • Idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis
  • Bronchiolitis obliterans
  • Sarcoidosis
  • Connective tissue abnormality
  • Vasculitis (Churg Strauss)
  • Acute interstitial pneumonitis

Causes of Interstitial Lung Disease

Following are the reasons due to which interstitial lung disease may occur:

  1. Autoimmune Disease: Following disease are caused by abnormality in the immune system:

    • Rheumatoid Arthritis
    • Systemic Lupus Erythematosus
    • Vasculitis
  2. Environment: These diseases are caused to the chemicals present in the environment. These are common in the people who are exposed to hazardous substances due to their occupation. Example of such disease may be Asbestosis.

  3. Infection: This disease is caused due to infection in the lungs. Example of such disease includes interstitial pneumonia.

However, there are certain diseases, the cause of which remains unknown. These diseases may include idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis and sarcoidosis.


Lifestyle changes play a vital role in the management of interstitial lung disease. The lifestyle changes may include exercise, to be surrounded by pollution-free air, avoiding smoking and maintain a healthy diet. The idea is not just to start the changes but to adhere to the changes as interstitial lung disease requires a long treatment and strict adherence to the lifestyle change may shorten the treatment.

Also Read:

Pramod Kerkar, M.D., FFARCSI, DA
Pramod Kerkar, M.D., FFARCSI, DA
Written, Edited or Reviewed By: Pramod Kerkar, M.D., FFARCSI, DA Pain Assist Inc. This article does not provide medical advice. See disclaimer
Last Modified On:October 5, 2018

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