Interstitial lung disease is a general grouping that embraces many diverse lung disorders. All interstitial lung diseases affect the interstitium, a portion of the lungs’ anatomic structure. The interstitium is a lace-like network of tissue that outspreads throughout both lungs. The interstitium offers support to the lungs’ microscopic air sacs (alveoli). Minute blood vessels travel through the interstitium, permitting gas exchange between blood and the air in the lungs.
What are the causes of interstitial lung disease?
Bacteria, viruses and fungi are known to cause interstitial pneumonias. Regular exposures to huffed irritants at work or during pastimes can also cause some interstitial lung disease. These irritants take account of:
- Silica dust
- Coal dust, or a number of other metal dusts from working in mining
- Grain dust from farming activities
- Bird proteins (such as from exotic birds, chickens, or pigeons)
Types of interstitial lung disease
All types of interstitial lung disease cause thickening of the interstitium. The thickening can be because of inflammation, scarring, or extra fluid (edema). Some forms of interstitial lung disease are short-lived; others are chronic and irreparable.
Who is at risk from interstitial lung disease?
Anybody can develop interstitial lung disease. Males and females of any age can get affected. Interstitial lung disease is more common in folks with autoimmune disease, including lupus, rheumatoid arthritis, and scleroderma.
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