Connective Tissue Disease-Interstitial Lung Disease (CTD-ILD)
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Why choose UCLA Health for CTD-ILD care?
At UCLA Health, our team specializes in treating people with interstitial lung disease (ILD) that results from connective tissue diseases (CTD). CTDs affect the tissues that connect structures in your body. They can cause lung inflammation and scarring, also called pulmonary fibrosis or lung fibrosis. When you come to us, you can expect:
Specialized care: You benefit from experts with extensive experience treating connective tissue disease-associated interstitial lung disease (CTD-ILD). This high level of specialized care means you get a precise diagnosis and more effective treatments.
Team of experts: Our team includes pulmonologists, rheumatologists, radiologists, pathologists and respiratory therapists, all dedicated to improving your well-being. We also work closely with doctors who specialize in pulmonary hypertension and gastroenterology to deliver the most comprehensive care.
Custom treatment plans: Every week, doctors and team members meet to review each patient’s case and discuss their care plan. This teamwork and communication ensure that you receive the best possible care from a range of specialists. We draw on our collective expertise to create comprehensive, tailored plans.
Convenience and excellence: We make it as easy as possible for you to get exceptional care. To make care more convenient, we arrange for you to see several specialists, including pulmonologists and rheumatologists, on the same day. Your coordinator works with you to schedule several tests during one visit.
Access to clinical trials: Our team is always researching new ways to enhance your health. If you’re eligible, you can participate in clinical trials that help us gain a better understanding of CTD-ILD and make treatments more effective.
As leaders in CTD-ILD, we provide unparalleled care and the latest treatments. You can expect specialized care from an experienced team dedicated to you. We offer:
Tailored CTD-ILD treatments
The severity of interstitial lung disease varies from person to person, so we develop customized treatment plans for your needs. Depending on the type of connective tissue disorder and the degree of lung inflammation and damage, you may need several treatments.
Interstitial lung disease support
We understand that lung disease can be challenging, both emotionally and physically. That’s why we provide patient education and support services that empower you to manage your health.
Support groups can be a valuable resource for you and your family members as you manage a chronic disease. Many people find comfort and gain knowledge by connecting with others who share their experiences. We also offer free seminars with practical information and tips for healthier living.
What is connective tissue disease-interstitial lung disease (CTD-ILD)?
Interstitial lung disease includes more than 200 diseases that cause scarring in the lungs. The scarring, called pulmonary fibrosis or lung fibrosis, can make it difficult to get enough oxygen to organs and tissues throughout your body. Interstitial lung disease that results from a connective tissue disorder is called CTD-ILD.
There are many types of connective tissue diseases (CTD). These diseases cause problems in tissues that connect the structures of the body, such as the skin, cartilage, ligaments, tendons, bones and blood vessels. Connective tissues become inflamed (irritated or swollen), causing damage all over the body, including the lungs.
Many CTDs are autoimmune diseases, which happen when the body’s immune system mistakenly attacks healthy tissues in the body. At UCLA Health, we specialize in helping people with lung damage and scarring that result from CTDs such as:
Scleroderma (systemic sclerosis or SSc), a condition that causes inflammation and fibrosis (scarring) in the skin and internal organs
Lupus (systemic lupus erythematosus or SLE), a disorder that causes inflammation in different organs and a range of symptoms
Polymyositis, a disorder that leads to inflammation in the muscles and causes them to break down over time
Rheumatoid arthritis, one of the most common types of CTD, causing inflammation and pain in the joints
Sjogren’s syndrome, a condition that causes dry eyes and dry mouth and usually develops along with other autoimmune diseases
Mixed connective tissue disease, a condition that causes patients to experience symptoms of different autoimmune diseases at the same time
What are the symptoms of interstitial lung disease (ILD)?
Most types of interstitial lung disease are chronic (long-lasting). Symptoms include:
- Chest discomfort
- Cough that may or may not produce mucus (phlegm)
- Extreme tiredness (fatigue) and weakness
- Labored breathing, which may be fast and shallow
- Loss of appetite and weight loss
- Shortness of breath, especially with activity
CTD-ILD treatments we offer
By focusing on CTD-related lung disease, we can develop more effective treatments. Our pulmonologists work closely with rheumatologists and other specialists to help you manage both ILD and CTD.
Lung inflammation and scarring vary from person to person. Our experts partner with you to design a customized treatment plan that may include:
Medications are an important part of a comprehensive care plan for ILD. Several medications can reduce inflammation, slow down the rate of lung scarring or suppress the immune system. We recommend the right medications for you and adjust them if your needs change.
To ensure coordinated care, your pulmonologist and rheumatologist work closely with your entire CTD care team. We help you manage medications for both ILD and CTD to maximize your health.
Experienced respiratory therapists deliver a full range of rehab services that focus on all aspects of your health. We create an individualized plan to increase your lung function and make breathing more efficient. We also offer multiple oxygen therapy options.
Tailored physical fitness plans improve your endurance and help you become more active. Registered dietitians offer nutritional guidance and practical tips to maximize your health and improve your quality of life. We consider many factors when creating these plans, including other health conditions, symptoms and goals.
Some people with ILD need a lung transplant. If your physician recommends this option, you can feel confident knowing that our lung transplant program is one of the best in the nation. UCLA Health lung transplant surgeons are at the forefront of new techniques that make these procedures more effective and safer than ever. Learn more about the UCLA Health Lung Transplant Program.
Our outstanding team includes pulmonologists and rheumatologists who have experience treating lung damage that results from connective tissue disease. We work closely with experts in pulmonary hypertension, gastroenterology and other fields to deliver seamless care.