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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 is 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.
Diagnosis and Tests
- Chest MRI (National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute)
- Chest X-Ray (National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute) Also in Spanish
- Pulmonary Function Tests (American Thoracic Society) - PDF
- Pulmonary Function Tests (National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute) Also in Spanish
- Shortness of Breath (American Academy of Family Physicians) Also in Spanish
Prevention and Risk Factors
- Healthy Air: Signs of Potential Problems in the Workplace (American Lung Association)
- Protect Yourself: Respirators (Occupational Safety and Health Administration) - PDF
Treatments and Therapies
- Interstitial Lung Disease (ILD): Treatment (National Jewish Health)
- Oxygen Therapy: MedlinePlus Health Topic (National Library of Medicine) Also in Spanish
- Pulmonary Rehabilitation: MedlinePlus Health Topic (National Library of Medicine) Also in Spanish
- Beryllium Toxicity (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention)
- Dusts and Molds (National Farm Medicine Center) - PDF
- How to Properly Put On, Take Off a Disposable Respirator (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention) - PDF Also in Spanish
- Particulate Matter (PM) Pollution (Environmental Protection Agency, Office of Air Quality Planning and Standards)
- What Is Crystalline Silica? (Occupational Safety and Health Administration)
- Chronic Beryllium Disease (National Jewish Health)
- Coal Mining-Related Respiratory Diseases (National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health)
- Farmer's Lung: Causes and Symptoms of Mold and Dust Induced Respiratory Illness (Virginia Cooperative Extension)
- Hypersensitivity Pneumonitis (National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute)
- Idiopathic Interstitial Pneumonias (Merck & Co., Inc.) Also in Spanish
- Learn About Silicosis (American Lung Association)
- Pneumonitis (Mayo Foundation for Medical Education and Research) Also in Spanish
- Silicosis: Learn the Facts! (National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health) - PDF Also in Spanish
- Genetics Home Reference: pulmonary alveolar microlithiasis (National Library of Medicine)
- Genetics Home Reference: surfactant dysfunction (National Library of Medicine)
Journal Articles References and abstracts from MEDLINE/PubMed (National Library of Medicine)
- Article: Pediatric Langerhans cell histiocytosis: state of the science and future directions.
- Article: Automated CT quantification methods for the assessment of interstitial lung disease...
- Article: Variety of lung involvement in autoimmune liver diseases.
- Interstitial Lung Diseases -- see more articles
- How the Lungs Work (National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute)
- Childhood Interstitial Lung Disease (National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute)