This site is intended for healthcare professionals only

Diagnosing and treating interstitial lung disease.

Written by: | Published:

Interstitial lung disease (ILD), also known as diffuse parenchymal lung disease (DPLD), is an umbrella term for many different lung diseases.1 The key area of damage is the interstitial (or parenchymal) area of the lung, which is the area between the microscopic-air or alveolar sacs. Diffuse simply means scattered widely. There are estimated to be over 200 identified causes1 of ILD and its prevalence has been reported as between one and three in 10,000 people.2

One of the challenges involved in diagnosing ILD, is the wide range of potential causes, the complexity of diagnostic tests, and their interpretation. Although some ILDs are acute onset, many people with ILD present late for diagnosis. When a patient presents late on a progressive disease trajectory, their care can often be about symptom control and become palliative in nature, rather than curative.3

Irritation of the tissue area surrounding the alveoli, the air sacs (alveolar epithelium, pulmonary endothelium, perivascular and perilymphatic tissues) can stem from many causes, which can often be prolonged. This can result in stiff or scarred tissue, known as fibrosis. Extensive alteration occurs to both the alveolar and airway architecture as a result of inflammation and fibrosis and, in many cases, this damage is irreversible. Fibrosis stops the lungs from working properly as the lungs become smaller and stiffer, affecting the abilty to breathe and carry ox

Please login or register to read the rest of the article and to have access to downloads and comments.

What do you think? Leave a comment below or tweet your views to @IndyNurseMag

This material is protected by MA Healthcare Ltd copyright.
See Terms and Conditions.

Read a free issue from Practice Nursing

Register to read a free issue from our sister publication, Practice Nursing.

Including articles on asthma, diabetes and more. Read your copy.


Sign up to the newsletter


Independent Nurse is the professional resource for primary care and community nurses, providing clinical articles for practice nurses and prescribers.


Subscribe to our newsletter and stay up to date with the latest nursing news.

Stay Connected

Stay social with Independent Nurse by following us on Twitter, liking us on Facebook or connecting on LinkedIn.


Need access to some of our older articles? You can view our archive, or alternatively contact us.

Contact Us

MA Healthcare Ltd.
St Jude's Church, Dulwich Road
London, SE24 0PB

Tel: +44 (0)20 7738 5454
Registered in England and Wales No. 01878373

Meet the team


Find out how to contribute to Independent Nurse here.