Definition of Interstitial Lung Disease

Interstitial Lung Disease is a broad term for chronic conditions that restrict the ability of the lungs to function properly, encompassing more than 150 diseases.

Interstitial lung disorders, also called interstitial lung disease as a collective term, are typically obstructive, fibrotic (involve SCAR formation), and progressive. Many arise from occupational exposures such as to asbestos (asbestosis), silica (silicosis), and coal dust (miner’s pneumonoconiosis).

A variant form that more commonly occurs later in life, idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis (IPF), has no identifiable cause and tends to be more severe in its progression.

Symptoms and Treatment

The general symptoms, diagnostic paths, and treatment approaches are similar for interstitial lung disorders. Common symptoms include cough, dyspnea (shortness of breath or difficulty breathing), and frequent infection. Treatment targets slowing the progression of the disease, relieving symptoms, and preventing infections.

Lung transplantation is sometimes a treatment option for severely progressive IPF. However, many people who have interstitial lung disorders are able to manage their symptoms for years to decades, allowing satisfactory quality of life.

See also CHRONIC OBSTRUCTIVE PULMONARY DISEASE (COPD)CYSTIC FIBROSIS AND THE LUNGSLIVING WITH CHRONIC PULMONARY CONDITIONS.

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