What Is Interstitial Lung Disease?


Interstitial lung disease (ILD) is an umbrella term given to a range of chronic lung diseases which all involve the interstitium. According to WebMD, the interstitium is part of the lungs’ anatomy. It’s a lace-like tissue spread throughout the lungs that supports the air sacs (alveoli) and allows the gas exchange between the blood stream and the lungs. ILDs cause thickening and scarring of the interstitium, hindering the ability of the alveoli.

MORE: Six ways to help you take care of your lungs.

If the interstitium becomes damaged, it can lead to lung diseases and symptoms such as a persistent cough, difficulty in breathing, fatigue, clubbing of the fingers, and intolerance to exercise.

Some forms of ILD are short-lived and can be treated, such as pneumonia, whereas others are chronic and life-threatening such as pulmonary fibrosis (PF), asbestosis, and sarcoidosis.

There are many reasons why a person may develop an interstitial lung disease: toxins such as smoking or environmental or industrial pollution, autoimmune diseases such as lupus or scleroderma, some medications, or radiation therapy. Often there is no known cause for the development of an IDL so it’s considered idiopathic.

MORE: How pulmonary fibrosis is connected to scleroderma

Pulmonary Fibrosis News is strictly a news and information website about the disease. It does not provide medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. This content is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or another qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition. Never disregard professional medical advice or delay in seeking it because of something you have read on this website.

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  1. William Beauvais says:

    Is their any connection to IPF and Agent Orange which I inhaled every day in Vetnaum. Some military men and women have been granted disability, some us have been waiting for years to get an answer. Agent Orange is a high toxic chemical yet no real answer from the EPA or from the science community. What is the answer? Thousands of soldiers who served their country need a answer, before they all die and the USA Goverment wins again. Not taking responsibility for our suffering and death. Bottom line what is the answer? Thanks for hearing out Diying solder. Bill B

  2. Darla Beauvais says:

    I hate seeing my husband of 51 years suffer like he does! He is wasting away and depressed about not being able to do the things that he use to do! He has always been a hard worker and now has no stamina in his everyday life. Thank God for OXYGEN that helps him get through the days and nights. He has been on Pirfenidone(Esbriet)
    for 2 years now and we are thankful for that but God only knows the side effects that he endures for the 9 pills that he takes on a daily basis. Please, if anyone knows what really causes this dreadful disease —– please speak up! Thanks for listening! Darla B.

  3. Anita Kraack says:

    My Dr. diagnosed me with COPD, however, I don’t think I have it.I can go for months without oxygen then I get very short of breathing and require prednisone in high doses and end up with IV prednisone in the hospital to treat it.I’ve been in the hospital twice between Thanksgiving and Christmas.I do nebulizer treatments every 4 hours and still have a loose cough.I went for 2 years previously without problems except for fatigue and exertional shortness of breath.MRI was done of my lungs but the doctor that treated me isn’t sure it is COPD, Yes I’m a smoker and have fibromyalgia for almost 16 years now and can’t help but think that may be the reason.I asked the doctor to do a Lupus blood test as I’m a retired RN and want to figure this out.The ANA came back negative.Could there be a false negative?I’m now on 2 liters of 02 and trying to wean off but I’m so tired.I’m feeling like a losing battle.I’ve lost weight and not myself.

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