Interstitial lung disease is a general category that includes many different lungconditions. All interstitial lung diseases affect the interstitium, a part of the lungs' anatomic structure. The interstitium is a lace-like network of tissue that extends throughout both lungs. The interstitium provides support to the lungs' microscopic air sacs (alveoli). Tiny blood vessels travel through the interstitium, allowing gas exchange between blood and the air in the lungs. Normally, the interstitium is so thin it can't be seen on chest X-rays or CT scans.
All forms of interstitial lung disease cause thickening of the interstitium. The thickening can be due to inflammation, scarring, or extra fluid (edema). Some forms of interstitial lung disease are short-lived; others are chronic and irreversible.
Interstitial pneumonia: Bacteria, viruses, or fungi may infect the interstitium of the lung. A bacterium called Mycoplasma pneumonia is the most common cause. Idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis : A chronic, progressive form of fibrosis (scarring) of the interstitium. Its cause is unknown.
Bacteria, viruses, and fungi are known to cause interstitial pneumonias. Regular exposures to inhaled irritants at work or during hobbies can also cause some interstitial lung disease.These irritants include:
Interstitial Pulmonary Fibrosis is the scarring and thickening of the lung tissues, a form of interstitial lung disease.
Interstitial lung disease refers to a group of diseases that are chronic, nonmalignant, and noninfectious. These diseases are characterized by infiltration of inflammatory cells into the walls of the alveoli (the air sacs of the lungs). The infiltration causes abnormal scarring in the connective tissue that supports the alveoli. If the disease progresses, scarring develops to the point that the lungs may be destroyed. The causes of most interstitial lung disorders are unknown. These ailments generally affect people over 50 years of age. Idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis is the most common diagnosis among patients presenting with interstitial lung disease. It is a chronic, noninfectious, nonmalignant disorder that causes progressive shortness of breath. Average duration of life after the onset of symptoms is 4 to 5 years, but many affected persons live much longer. Males and females are affected equally. The disorder commonly develops in the middle years of life but it can occur at any age.
The cause of idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis is unknown. Inhalation of certain toxins, autoimmune disease, and radiation may cause pulmonary fibrosis. Medications including bleomycin, busulfan, phenytoin, and nitrofurantoin may cause interstitial fibrosis.
Symptoms of lung cancer include cough, coughing up blood or rusty-colored phlegm, fatigue, unexplained weight loss, recurrent respiratory infections, hoarseness, new wheezing, and shortness of breath.