Medical Encyclopedia


Medical Encyclopedia

Other encyclopedia topics:  A-Ag  Ah-Ap  Aq-Az  B-Bk  Bl-Bz  C-Cg  Ch-Co  Cp-Cz  D-Di  Dj-Dz  E-Ep  Eq-Ez  F  G  H-Hf  Hg-Hz  I-In  Io-Iz  J  K  L-Ln  Lo-Lz  M-Mf  Mg-Mz  N  O  P-Pl  Pm-Pz  Q  R  S-Sh  Si-Sp  Sq-Sz  T-Tn  To-Tz  U  V  W  X  Y  Z  0-9 

Diffuse interstitial lung disease

Contents of this page:


Coal workers pneumoconiosis - stage II
Coal workers pneumoconiosis - stage II
Coal workers pneumoconiosis - stage II #2
Coal workers pneumoconiosis - stage II #2
Coal workers pneumoconiosis, complicated
Coal workers pneumoconiosis, complicated
Respiratory system
Respiratory system

Alternative Names    Return to top

Diffuse parenchymal lung disease; Alveolitis; Cryptogenic fibrosing alveolitis (CFA); Idiopathic pulmonary pneumonitis (IPP)

Definition    Return to top

Diffuse interstitial lung disease refers to a group of lung disorders in which the deep lung tissues become swollen and scarred.

Causes    Return to top

Interstitial lung diseases (ILD) are caused by swelling and scarring of the air sacs (alveoli) and their supporting structures (the interstitium). This leads to reduced levels of oxygen in the blood.

The interstitial lung diseases can be broken down into two large groups:

One recent system further divides idiopathic ILD into the following three groups:

There are dozens of different causes of ILD. Many occupational substances can cause ILD, including:

People who are heavily exposed to known causes of occupational lung disease in the workplace are usually routinely screened for lung disease. This can include coal miners, sand-blasters, ship workers, and others.

Occasionally, bird keeping or bathing in hot tubs may cause some forms of ILD.

The following diseases can cause ILD:

Certain medications (such as bleomycin, amiodarone, and methotrexate) may also cause ILD.

Cigarette smoking may increase the risk of developing some forms of ILD and may cause the disease to be more severe.

Symptoms    Return to top

Exams and Tests    Return to top

The health care provider will perform a physical exam. Dry, crackling breath sounds may be heard when listening to the chest with a stethoscope. The health care provider may notice nasal flaring.

The following tests may be done:

Treatment    Return to top

The treatment depends on the cause of the disease. Most often, anti-inflammatory drugs, such as corticosteroids or immunosuppressing drugs, are prescribed.

If there is no specific treatment for the condition, therapy is aimed at making the person more comfortable and supporting lung function. Those with low blood oxygen levels will receive oxygen. Lung rehabilitation can help people with advanced ILD.

Some patients with advanced ILD may need a lung transplant.

Support Groups    Return to top

For additional information and resources, see lung disease support group.

Outlook (Prognosis)    Return to top

Chances of recovery or the disease getting worse depend on the cause, and how severe the disease was when it was first diagnosed.

Possible Complications    Return to top

When to Contact a Medical Professional    Return to top

Call your health care provider if you have shortness of breath at rest that lasts for any period of time.

Prevention    Return to top

Avoid exposure to substances known to cause lung disease.

Quitting smoking can prevent ILD from getting worse.

References    Return to top

Goldman L, Ausiello D. Cecil Medicine. 23rd ed. Philadelphia, Pa: Saunders; 2008.

Update Date: 1/18/2008

Updated by: Andrew Schriber, MD, FCCP, Specialist in Pulmonary, Critical Care, and Sleep Medicine, Virtua Memorial Hospital, Mount Holly, New Jersey. Review provided by VeriMed Healthcare Network. Also reviewed by David Zieve, MD, MHA, Medical Director, A.D.A.M., Inc.

A.D.A.M. Logo

The information provided herein should not be used during any medical emergency or for the diagnosis or treatment of any medical condition. A licensed physician should be consulted for diagnosis and treatment of any and all medical conditions. Call 911 for all medical emergencies. Links to other sites are provided for information only -- they do not constitute endorsements of those other sites. Copyright 1997-2009, A.D.A.M., Inc. Any duplication or distribution of the information contained herein is strictly prohibited.