Interstitial Lung Disease
Respiratory diseases are one of the top causes of death in the United States and affect approximately one in seven people. Learn more about the many diseases out there, and how to cure, prevent and ease their symptoms.
Interstitial lung disease is the name for a large group of diseases that inflame or scar the lungs. The inflammation and scarring make it hard to get enough oxygen. The scarring is called pulmonary fibrosis.
Breathing in dust or other particles in the air are responsible for some types of interstitial lung diseases. Specific types include:
- Black lung disease among coal miners, from inhaling coal dust
- Farmer’s lung, from inhaling farm dust
- Asbestosis, from inhaling asbestos fibers
- Siderosis, from inhaling iron from mines or welding fumes
- Silicosis, from inhaling silica dust
Other causes include autoimmune diseases or occupational exposures to molds, gases or fumes. Some types of interstitial lung disease have no known cause.
Treatment depends on the type of exposure and the stage of the disease. It may involve medicines, oxygen therapy, or a lung transplant in severe cases.
- Article: Nonpulmonary outcomes of asbestos exposure.
- Article: An official ATS/ERS/JRS/ALAT statement: idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis: evidence-based guidelines for diagnosis and management.
- Article: MicroRNAs in idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis.
Additional Diseases Info:
|alveolus||air sac where gas exchange takes place.|
|aorta||blood vessel that delivers oxygen-rich blood from the left ventricle to the body; it is the largest blood vessel in the body.|
|apex||top portion of the upper lobes of the lungs.|
|atrium||one of the two receiving chambers of the heart.|
|base||bottom portion of lower lobes, located just above the diaphragm.|
|blood pressure||pressure of blood against the walls of a blood vessel or heart chamber.|
|bronchiolitis||inflammation that involves the bronchioles (small airways).|
|bronchoscopy||the examination of the bronchi (the main airways of the lungs) using a flexible tube (bronchoscope). Bronchoscopy helps to evaluate and diagnose lung problems, assess blockages, obtain samples of tissue and/or fluid, and/or to help remove a foreign body.|
|bronchus||large airways; lung divides into right and left bronchi.|
|cardiac output||total amount of blood being pumped by the heart over a particular period of time.|
|catheter||thin, flexible medical tube; one use is to insert it into a blood vessel to measure blood pressure.|
|cyanosis||bluish color in the skin because of insufficient oxygen.|
|diaphragm||primary muscle used for respiration, located just below the lung bases.|
|diastolic pressure||lowest pressure to which blood pressure falls between contractions of the ventricles.|
|dyspnea||sensation of difficulty in breathing.|
|edema||swelling due to the buildup of fluid.|
|endothelial cells||the delicate lining, only one cell thick, of the organs of circulation.|
|expiration||exhaling; giving off carbon dioxide.|
|heartbeat||one complete contraction of the heart.|
|hyperactive||describes a situation in which a body tissue is especially likely to have an exaggerated reaction to a particular situation.|
|hypertension||abnormally high blood pressure.|
|hypotension||abnormally low blood pressure.|
|inspiration||inhaling; taking in oxygen.|
|lobectomy||removal of an entire lobe of the lung.|
|lung volume||the amount of air the lungs hold.|
|mean blood pressure||average blood pressure, taking account of the rise and fall that occurs with each heartbeat. It is often estimated by multiplying the diastolic pressure by two, adding the systolic pressure, and then dividing this sum by three.|
|palpitation||sensation of rapid heartbeats.|
|pleura||membrane that covers the outside of the lung.|
|pneumonectomy||removal of an entire lung.|
|pulmonary artery||blood vessel delivering oxygen-poor blood from the right ventricle to the lungs.|
|pulmonary hypertension||abnormally high blood pressure in the arteries of the lungs.|
|smooth muscle||muscle that performs automatic tasks, such as constricting blood vessels.|
|spirogram||record of the amounts of air being moved in and out of the lungs.|
|syncope||fainting; temporary loss of consciousness.|
|systemic||relating to a process that affects the body generally; in this instance, the way in which blood is supplied through the aorta to all body organs except the lungs.|
|systolic pressure||the highest pressure to which blood pressure rises with the contraction of the ventricles.|
|vasodilator||agent that widens blood vessels.|
|ventilation||movement of air (gases) in and out of the lungs.|
|ventricle||one of the two pumping chambers of the heart; right ventricle receives oxygen-poor blood from the right atrium and pumps it to the lungs through the pulmonary artery; left ventricle receives oxygen-rich blood from the left atrium and pumps it to the body through the aorta.|