Commonly called pulmonary fibrosis, interstitial lung disease (ILD) accounts for more than 130 lung disorders — all of which are characterized by scarring of the lungs. Among the most common interstitial lung disorders are pulmonary fibrosis, hypersensitivity pneumonitis, sarcoidosis, and vascular granulomatosis.
Shortness of breath with exercise and a nonproductive cough are the most common symptoms. Other symptoms may include weight loss, fever, fatigue, muscle, and joint pain. ILD can be caused by occupational and environmental exposure to organic and inorganic dust, gases, and fumes; infections; connective tissue disease such as lupus and rheumatoid arthritis; and chemotherapy and radiation.
At NewYork-Presbyterian Brooklyn Methodist Hospital, the diagnosis of interstitial lung disease is made after physicians at the Asthma and Other Lung Diseases program take a medical history, conduct a physical exam, and review the results of tests, which may include a chest x-ray, blood tests, pulmonary function tests, exercise tests, a special type of bronchoscopy to check inflammatory cells in the lung, and surgical lung biopsy, all of which are available at NewYork-Presbyterian Brooklyn Methodist Hospital. Treatment may include medication, supplemental oxygen, pulmonary rehabilitation, and, if known, eliminating the source of the problem.