Inaugural ILD Day Brings Awareness for Interstitial Lung Disease

(BPT) - Nine patient advocacy groups partner to educate about ILD on September 15, 2021

It’s very possible you’ve never heard of interstitial lung disease (ILD), despite the more than 200 types of ILD that affect over 250,000 Americans. That’s why nine patient advocacy organizations have partnered to raise awareness for ILDs with the first-ever ILD Day, September 15, 2021.

What is Interstitial Lung Disease (ILD)?

ILD is the umbrella term used for a large group of diseases characterized by inflammation and/or scarring in the lungs. The inflammation and scarring in the lungs make it difficult to breathe and get oxygen to the bloodstream, and the damage caused by ILD can be irreversible and worsen over time. Unfortunately, there are more than 50,000 new cases of ILD diagnosed annually in the U.S.

“Sadly, awareness of ILD remains very low, despite the fact that the disease is so prevalent,” said William T. Schmidt, president and CEO of the Pulmonary Fibrosis Foundation. “It is essential that we know the facts and risk factors to help promote understanding of this devastating disease, raise funds for vital research, and lead to better treatments and improved quality of life. Because many of the symptoms are similar to other common respiratory illnesses, it can be difficult to pinpoint that your experience may be an indication of something greater, like ILD.”

ILD Symptoms and Risk Factors

Difficult to diagnose, ILD can be debilitating and, in some cases, incurable. Causes of ILD include the use of certain medications, radiation to the chest, autoimmune diseases, environmental and occupational exposures. ILD is more common in older adults, but can affect people of any age, including children.

Shortness of breath is a common symptom of ILD, along with dry cough, fatigue and weakness, chest discomfort, “clubbing” of the fingertips, loss of appetite and unexplained weight loss.

Idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis (IPF), which has no known cause, is one of the most common forms of ILD. Patients with some diseases, including rheumatoid arthritis, scleroderma, myositis, dermatomyositis and polymyositis (DM and PM), sarcoidosis and Sjögren's syndrome have an increased risk of developing an ILD and should speak with their doctor.

Take Action

If you have any of these diseases, symptoms or risk factors, talk with your doctor about the possibility of developing ILD. Remember: advocating for your health is essential to maximizing treatment options and quality of life.

ILD Day is presented by a collaboration of nine organizations including the Pulmonary Fibrosis Foundation, Arthritis Foundation, The Myositis Association, Foundation for Sarcoidosis Research, PF Warriors, Scleroderma Foundation, Scleroderma Research Foundation, Sjögren’s Foundation, and Wescoe Foundation for Pulmonary Fibrosis, who have partnered to help individuals recognize the importance of today through media outreach, social media communications, an educational webinar for patients on Sept. 15, and a survey to help researchers better understand existing awareness. ILD Day is supported by funding from Boehringer Ingelheim, a leading research-driven biopharmaceutical company.

For more information about ILD, visit www.ILDDay.org.