Interstitial lung disease (ILD) is not a lung disease itself but a group of several lung conditions, including idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis (IPF). You can see the difference between IPF and other interstitial lung diseases by looking at the affected lung tissue under a microscope. According to WebMD, ILDs attack the interstitium, the tissue and space around the lung’s air sacs.
This large group of diseases is known for creating progressive scarring of the interstitium. That scarring can cause progressive lung stiffness that will end up affecting the patient’s breathing, which in turn will cut off the oxygen that should be delivered to the bloodstream.
There are various lung conditions in the interstitial lung disease category, some forms of which are short-lived and others which are chronic and irreversible.
Some of these include:
- Idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis
- Cryptogenic organizing pneumonia (COP)
- Desquamative interstitial pneumonitis
- Nonspecific interstitial pneumonitis
- Hypersensitivity pneumonitis
- Acute interstitial pneumonitis
- Interstitial pneumonia
Interstitial lung diseases have many conditions and symptoms. They can be caused by both autoimmune and rheumatologic diseases, and can also have no known cause. Remember, no matter the disease, your medical team is there to advise you and help you through.
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