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Interstitial lung disease: description, causes, symptoms, diagnosis, classification and treatment

What are interstitial lung diseases? Treatment of such diseases, their symptoms and classification will be described below.

basic information

Interstitial lung disease is a complex of chronic diseases of the lung tissue that are manifested by inflammation, as well as a violation of the structure of the endothelium of the capillaries, alveolar perivasal walls and perilymphatic tissues. A characteristic sign of such a pathological condition is shortness of breath. This symptom is a reflection of pulmonary insufficiency.

Interstitial lung disease often leads to pneumofibrosis. In modern medical practice, this term is not used as a synonym for LES, but sometimes it is used in this sense.


By what principle do interstitial lung diseases differ? Classification of these diseases occurs on the basis of etiology:

  • The reaction to drugs, or rather, antibiotics, antiarrhythmic drugs and drugs for chemotherapy.
  • Inhalation of certain substances from the environment (inorganic and organic substances, silicosis, berylliosis, asbestosis, allergic exogenous alveolitis or hypersensitive pneumonitis).
  • Systemic connective tissue diseases (rheumatoid arthritis, scleroderma, systemic lupus erythematosus, dermatomyositis).
  • Idiopathic (histiocytosis X, sarcoidosis, alveolar proteinosis, pneumofibrosis idiopathic, idiopathic interstitial alveolitis, including acute interstitial alveolitis).
  • Infections (pneumocystis pneumonia, atypical pneumonia, tuberculosis).
  • Associated interstitial disease of the lungs (with liver diseases: biliary primary cirrhosis, active chronic hepatitis, with pulmonary vasculitis: lymphomatoid granulomatosis, Wegener's granulomatosis, hypersensitive vasculitis, necrotizing systemic vasculitis, and "graft versus host" reaction).
  • Tumors are malignant (carcinomatosis lymphangitis).

What is LES?

As mentioned above, interstitial lung disease is a common name for a group of respiratory tract diseases. They are united by the fact that all of them affect interstitium, that is, part of the lungs.

Interstitial tissue is called the connective tissue of the lungs. It provides support for microscopic air sacs and lung alveoli.

Blood vessels passing through the interstitium perform the function of gas exchange between air in the airways and blood. The interstitial tissue is so thin that it is not visible on the x-ray or in the CT scan. But, despite this, her disease can still be detected in the course of these studies.

Any disease of the lung tissue causes it to thicken. Such a pathological condition may occur due to inflammation, swelling, or scarring. Some types of damage to the interstitial tissue pass quickly, while others are incurable or chronic.

Causes of Disease Development

Why do interstitial lung diseases occur (the recommendations of treatment specialists will be presented below)? There are many different reasons for the development of lesions of lung tissue. For example, interstitial pneumonia is caused by viruses, bacteria or fungus. The development of other diseases can be associated with the regular inhalation of irritants such as asbestos, talc, quartz dust, metal dust, coal or grain. Very rarely, lung diseases of this group are formed due to the impact of narcotic components.

The peculiarity of ISL is that all of these factors contribute to the development of only a few diseases. In most cases, their causes of occurrence remain unknown.

Symptoms of the disease

Diffuse interstitial lung diseases are characterized by inflammation of the lung tissue and its subsequent damage. Such pathological conditions are accompanied by shortness of breath. This is the main symptom of LAS. At first, shortness of breath is not very noticeable, but it is worth the patient to do sports or just climb the stairs, as she immediately makes itself felt.

It should also be noted that the CAS is characterized by a dry cough. Also, patients noticeably lose weight. They have joint and muscle pain, fatigue. In neglected cases, the person abnormally widens the nails, and the lips and skin turn blue. This pathological phenomenon is associated with a low level of oxygen in the blood.

Diagnosis of interstitial lung diseases

How do these diseases show up? As a rule, people with IZL complain to the pulmonologist for coughing and shortness of breath. To make the correct diagnosis, the doctor usually uses the following methods of lung examination:

  • Computer tomography. Thanks to this method, you can create a complete image of the lungs, as well as all adjacent structures. IZLE is quite easily diagnosed with CT.
  • X-ray. Such a chest examination is usually performed to assess the general condition of the pulmonary system. The affected interstitia are displayed in the images in the form of fine lines.

  • CT with high resolution. The correct settings of the tomograph, as well as the experience of a specialist, significantly increase the effectiveness of the diagnosis of LES.
  • Lung biopsy and examination of samples under a microscope. Quite often this is the only possible way to determine the type of lesion of lung tissue. Her samples can be taken with thoracoscopic video-assisted surgery, bronchoscopy or toraktomy.

It should also be noted that some experts perform special tests to assess the function of external respiration , including spirometry, bodipletizmography and others.

Treatment and Clinical Recommendations

Interstitial lung diseases are rather serious pathologies requiring immediate treatment. The scheme of therapy of such diseases should be chosen only by the pulmonologist, depending on the reasons for their development and the type of tissue damage.

Most often, treatment of IBD is carried out through antibiotics. Such remedies are effective for many types of interstitial pneumonia of bacterial origin.

As for viral pneumonia, it usually passes by itself. It is not necessary to treat it with antibiotics. It should also be noted that such a rare disease as fungal pneumonia, is eliminated only through special antifungal drugs.

Another type of medication that is used to treat iszlin is corticosteroids. Such drugs eliminate the inflammatory process not only in the lungs, but also in other parts of the body. By the way, other drugs used to treat the disease in question can only slow down lung lesions, as well as the process of worsening their work. They also often suppress the human immune system in order to reduce the inflammatory process, which leads to other health problems.

People with a low oxygen content in the blood system are advised to inhale oxygen through special devices. Such procedures will help improve the overall condition of the patient, and also fill the need for cardiac muscle in O 2 .

It should also be noted that in some cases, doctors recommend that their patients undergo a lung transplant. Often this is the most effective method of fighting the disease, especially in severe and neglected cases.


In some patients, heart failure develops on the background of the IZL, and high blood pressure in the lung vessels arises. The chances for a patient to recover or worsen the course of illness depend on the reasons for their development, the severity and timing of the diagnosis. It should be noted that pulmonary fibrosis idiopathic has a rather poor prognosis.

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