Interstitial lung disease is a term used to describe a large group (130 or more) of lung disorders in which inflammation and progressive scarring of the lung tissue interfere with the ability to breathe and get enough oxygen to the bloodstream. The scarring of the lung caused by interstitial lung disease is irreversible.
The cause of interstitial lung disease is unknown. Conversely, interstitial lung disease can be caused by rheumatoid arthritis, occupational lung disease, sarcoidosis, certain medications and radiation. This is referred to as idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis or idiopathic interstitial lung disease.
Interstitial lung disease can affect both men and women of any age, but it is found more commonly in individuals with autoimmune disease, such as lupus, scleroderma and rheumatoid arthritis.
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