To drive awareness of interstitial lung disease (ILD), nine organizations are collaborating to present the first-ever ILD Day on Wednesday, Sept. 15. There are more than 200 types of ILD, which is the umbrella term used for a large group of diseases characterized by inflammation and/or scarring in the lungs. The inflammation and scarring injure the lungs, making it difficult to breathe and get oxygen to the bloodstream.

Pulmonary fibrosis (PF) can be seen in many types of ILD, and there are more than 250,000 Americans living with PF and ILD. The damage caused by ILD can be irreversible and worsen over time. There are more than 50,000 new cases of ILD diagnosed annually in the US.

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. Patients with some diseases, such as rheumatoid arthritis, scleroderma, myositis, including dermatomyositis and polymyositis (DM and PM), sarcoidosis and Sjögren’s syndrome, are at higher risk for ILD and should speak with their doctor about the disease.

“Awareness of interstitial lung disease remains relatively unknown in the community, and because its symptoms are similar to other common respiratory diseases, it can be very difficult to diagnose,” said William T. Schmidt, president and CEO of the Pulmonary Fibrosis Foundation. “We created ILD Day, in partnership with eight other organizations, to raise awareness so at-risk patients and those experiencing symptoms can be diagnosed more quickly to receive proper care and treatment to manage the condition.”

ILD Day is presented by a collaboration of organizations including the Pulmonary Fibrosis Foundation, Arthritis Foundation, Foundation for Sarcoidosis Research, The Myositis Association, PF Warriors, Scleroderma Foundation, Scleroderma Research Foundation, Sjögren’s Foundation and Wescoe Foundation for Pulmonary Fibrosis. ILD Day is supported by funding from Boehringer Ingelheim, a leading research-driven biopharmaceutical company.

“It is imperative that we all help expand understanding of ILDs, and we are proud to work with these organizations to broaden the scope of our community outreach,” said Al Masucci, executive director/therapeutic area head, respiratory IPF/ILD, clinical development and medical affairs, for Boehringer Ingelheim Pharmaceuticals, Inc. “Sponsoring ILD Day allows us to provide meaningful resources for patients and doctors and to help improve health.”

An educational webinar will be held on Sept. 15 to help patients better understand the disease, its symptoms and available treatments. To register or for more information, visit