Interstitial lung diseases are a heterogeneous group of disorders characterized by alveolar septal thickening, fibroblast proliferation, collagen deposition, and, if the process remains unchecked, pulmonary fibrosis. Interstitial lung diseases can be classified using various criteria (eg, acute vs chronic, granulomatous vs nongranulomatous, known cause vs unknown cause, primary lung disease vs secondary to systemic disease, history of smoking vs no smoking history).
Among the numerous possible causes are most connective tissue disorders and occupational lung exposures Occupational Asthma Occupational asthma is reversible airway obstruction that develops after months to years of sensitization to an allergen encountered in the workplace. Symptoms are dyspnea, wheezing, cough,... read more and many drugs Drug-Induced Pulmonary Disease Drug-induced pulmonary disease is not a single disorder, but rather a common clinical problem in which a patient without previous pulmonary disease develops respiratory symptoms, chest x-ray... read more (see table Causes of Interstitial Lung Disease Causes of Interstitial Lung Disease ). A number of interstitial lung diseases of unknown etiology have characteristic histology, clinical features, or presentation and thus are considered unique diseases, including
In up to 30% of patients who have interstitial lung diseases with no clear cause, the disorders are distinguished primarily by characteristic histopathologic features; these disorders are termed the idiopathic interstitial pneumonias Overview of Idiopathic Interstitial Pneumonias Idiopathic interstitial pneumonias (IIPs) are interstitial lung diseases of unknown etiology that share similar clinical and radiologic features and are distinguished primarily by the histopathologic... read more .