Symptoms and Signs of Interstitial Lung Disease (Interstitial Pneumonia)

Medical Author:
Medically Reviewed on 8/13/2021

Doctor's Notes on Interstitial Lung Disease (Interstitial Pneumonia)

Interstitial lung disease is inflammation in the interstitial tissue of the lungs, the spaces and supportive tissue that surround and separate the air sacs (alveoli), and not the air sacs themselves. Interstitial inflammation typically occurs all over the lungs and is not confined to one location. 

Symptoms of interstitial lung disease develop gradually as a result of decreased lung function and may include: 

  • shortness of breath, 
  • dry cough, and 
  • signs of chronically reduced oxygen levels in the blood such as clubbing (a painless enlargement of the fingertips) and an enlarged heart. 

Complications of interstitial lung disease include: 

What Is the Treatment for Interstitial Lung Disease?

Treatment for interstitial lung disease depends on many factors, including the cause of the disease and its severity. It is also critical to treat the underlying disease process that caused the condition. In more severe cases, respiratory support, including oxygen or mechanical ventilation, may be required. Smoking cessation is also essential to treatment. In some cases, however, no therapy may be available.

Treatments for interstitial lung disease may include:

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Kasper, D.L., et al., eds. Harrison's Principles of Internal Medicine, 19th Ed. United States: McGraw-Hill Education, 2015.