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How to treat Interstitial Lung disease?

Q: I live in New Delhi. But I am worried about my mother who is in Lko and is not well. My mother has been suffering from severe cough and breathlessness for the past two years. We had shown her to our family physician who gave her general medicines for the same. He ruled out any possibilty of lung disease or any other disease. We did not go for a second opinion as he has been the family doctor for the past 27 years. But since her condition was not improving we checked with another Doctor from the Medical College who advised us various tests after which we were told that she is sufferring from Lung infection called, Interstitial lung disease. I have read about it in various web sites and it says that the cause of this infection is not known- it causes inflammation of the lungs and the patient feels very tired and has breathless and has severe bouts of cough. She is also suffering from diabetes, which is being kept under control due to medication and controlled diet. A steroid called Omnicortel is being given to her by the Doctor. 5 months back the dosage of Omnicortel was 40mg but now the Doctor has reduced it to 10mg. The other Doctors have mentioned taht she needs to take vaccination for Infuenza, but the same is not possible till she takes the steroid called Omnicortil. She is also taking Ayurvedic medicines, and the Allopathic Doctors have not discouraged the intake of the same. As tehy were of the opinion that under allopathy they can only stop the disease from spreading etc and feel that maybe ayrvedic medicine might be able to heal her. Doctor I wish to seek your help to understand how to help my mother get well. Can you suggest as to how we should go about het treatment. We are being very careful that ahse does not get Influenza etc -but the rainy weather is bad and teh vaccination cannot be given, hence I am worried. I would be very grateful to hear from you.

A:Unfortunately, there is no satisfactory treatment at this time for interstitial fibrosis of the lungs. This progressive disease of unknown cause appears to becoming increasingly common; perhaps chemical pollutants or viruses or moulds cause most cases. However, there are suggestions that some Chinese herbal medicines can cause a similar lung disease in susceptible people. This may warn us to not to use Ayurvedic or other herbal remedies without first thinking about their potential to cause more harm and this is very difficult to predict. Currently, the most accepted treatment is large doses of a corticosteroid. (Incidentally, Jerry Lewis, the famous american movie star, has interstitial lung fibrosis and is being treated with large amounts of steroids; his weight gain makes him unrecognizable.) Some new experimental drugs such as interferons are being studied in trials at selected medical centers, but these drugs are not available elsewhere. Immunization against pneumococcal pneumonia is advisable.

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