Interstitial lung disease does not refer to one disease. The term refers to an entire group of pulmonary diseases that cause the supporting tissue between the lung air sacs to thicken. This thickening can cause a number of issues, including scarring and even failure of the respiratory system. The disease comprises interstitial pneumonia, pulmonary fibrosis, asbestosis, sarcoidosis, hypersensitivity pneumonitis, acute interstitial pneumonitis and cryptogenic organizing pneumonia.
Breathing issues are the most typical symptoms of interstitial lung disease. The vast majority of people who suffer from interstitial lung disease will have times where they feel unable to breathe comfortably. This often worsens over time if it is not treated. Many interstitial lung disease sufferers also experience a dry cough. Weight loss can also be a common symptom of interstitial lung disease, especially in patients who have pneumonia. The symptoms tend to develop gradually, but in the case of pneumonia, the symptoms may develop more rapidly.
In some cases of interstitial lung disease, a clear cause can be found. Some of the most common causes include exposure to cigarette smoke, exposure to asbestos, or exposure to toxins within the environment. Exposure to allergens such as proteins, for example, from an exotic or domesticated bird can cause interstitial lung disease. Less commonly, some forms of genetic diseases may cause interstitial lung disease. The cause of interstitial lung disease is not always known. These cases are known as idiopathic.
The doctor will discuss symptoms with the patient to form a preliminary diagnosis of interstitial lung disease. After that, the doctor will typically perform several tests to diagnose interstitial lung disease. These tests usually begin with imaging but may also include blood oxygen level analysis. In some cases, a biopsy may be needed to make the interstitial lung disease diagnosis.
Feel free to email us regarding any scheduling or general questions!