Interstitial lung disease


Interstitial lung disease ecompasses a range of different conditions — our respiratory experts can diagnose and treat you


Interstitial lung disease (ILD) describes a range of conditions, most of which cause scarring to lung tissue. These include idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis, pulmonary vasculitis and hypersensitive pneumonitis. These can cause breathing difficulties as not enough oxygen gets into your blood. Our respiratory experts can help to diagnose and treat you.

Need to know

  • Symptoms of interstitial lung disease icon plus

    • breathlessness
    • dry cough
    • weight loss
  • Diagnosis icon plus

    Your consultant will discuss your symptoms with you and help to make a diagnosis. They may also recommend certain diagnostic tests.

    • Blood tests to detect protein and antibodies identified in ILDs.
    • X-ray or CT scan to show images of your chest and lungs
    • Echocardiogram to help visualise any abnormalities in your heart
    • Pulmonary function tests, like a  spirometry to assess how much air you lungs can hold, and an aoximetry to measure oxygen levels in your blood.
    • A bronchoscopy where a flexible tube with a camera is passed into your lungs and a sample of your lung tissue is taken.
  • Potential treatment options icon plus

    • Medication to slow progression of ILD.
    • Oxygen therapy to assist with breathing and reduce high blood pressure.
    • Pulmonary rehabilitation to help with your everyday life. This includes breathing exercises and diet recommendations.

    In very severe cases where medication hasn't helped, lung transplant surgery may be considered. You consultant would of course speak with you in detail about this as a potential procedure.

Types of interstitial lung disease

Idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis (IPF)

People with idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis experience scarring of their lungs. This results in an increasing difficulty with breathing over time.

Pulmonary vasculitis

If you have pulmonary vasculitis then the blood vessels in your lung have become inflamed or destroyed. This can be caused by other lung conditions.

Hypersensitive pneumonitis (HP)

Hypersensitive pneumonitis is an inflammation of your lung's alveoli. It happens when you breathe in particles that contaminate the alveoli.


Sarcoidosis is a condition where an abnormal collection of inflammatory cells form lumps called granulomas. These form on the lungs and other organs.

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This content is intended for general information only and does not replace the need for personal advice from a qualified health professional.
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