Dr Tariq Mahmood, professor and head of department of pulmonary medicine, MLN Medical College, Prayagraj, who was invited as guest faculty by the AIIMS’s Scientific Committee recently to take part in the discussion on lung fibrosis, told TOI on Wednesday that lung fibrosis (also known as Interstitial Lung Disease) has been emerging and challenging disease in the country.
He, however, said “The prevalence of ILD in India lies between 6.27-97.9 per one lakh and incidence between 10.1-60.7 per 1 lakh population while the global incidence prevalence lies between 5.6-82.4 and 1-70.1 per lakh population respectively.” Tariq was one of the three invited guests from the state to attend the session.
“Data based on ILD incidence and prevalence, the mean age of ILD patients was 55.3 years and 47.2% of them are male. Moreover, Hypersensitivity Pneumonitis (HP) was diagnosed in majority of cases that is 47.3% followed by CTD-ILD (connective tissue disease) 13.9%, IPF (interstitial pulmonary fibrosis) 13.7%, sarcoidosis 7.8% and pneumoconiosis 3%,” he said.
Among patients with HP (hyper-sensitivity pneumonitis) 48.1% had been exposed to air coolers, 26.3% to air conditioners, 21.4% to birds and 20.7% to mold and rheumatoid arthritis was the most common type of CTD-ILD followed by scleroderma.
In this disease, lung tissues gradually get fibrosed causing difficulty in lung expansion, so the breathing process declines, and patient develops cough, dyspnoea (forced breathing) and decreased oxygen in blood.
This also causes weakness and fat as fibrosis increases, symptoms worsen, and patient becomes dependent on oxygen support ultimately leading to need of ventilatory support. At advanced stage, this also effects right side of the heart and causing pulmonary arterial hypertension (PAH).
Any stimuli such as smoke (cigarette, bidi, environmental pollution), suspended particulate matter (industrial smoke, bird droppings and various mold and grass in coolers and gases in air conditioners are the sources that may lead to lung fibrosis. Basic precautions such as use of face mask and avoidance of exposure to noxious stimuli can help in prevention of ILD.