Interstitial Lung Disease

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What is Interstitial Lung Disease?

ILD, also called interstitial pulmonary fibrosis or pulmonary fibrosis, refers to inflammation or scarring (fibrosis) of the interstitium, which is the area between the air sacs of the lungs. While there are numerous causes and related diseases, the cause often is unknown (idiopathic). Patients with ILD usually complain of shortness of breath (especially with exertion) and cough, although there may be minimal or no symptoms early in the disease progression. Treatments are tailored to the specific disease and disease severity.  

Symptoms of interstitial lung diseases

The following are the most common symptoms for interstitial lung diseases. However, each person may experience symptoms differently. Symptoms may include:

  • Shortness of breath, especially with activity
  • Dry, hacking cough that does not produce phlegm
  • Extreme tiredness (fatigue) and weakness
  • Loss of appetite
  • Unexplained weight loss
  • Discomfort in the chest
  • Labored breathing, which may be fast and shallow
  • Bleeding (hemorrhage) in the lungs

The symptoms of interstitial lung diseases may resemble other lung conditions or medical problems. Consult a health care provider for a diagnosis.