Christine F McDonald
Interstitial lung disease (ILD) is a term that describes a
diverse range of lung conditions, which are an important
cause of morbidity and mortality in all age groups.
Idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis is the most common ILD in
older adults and generally has a poor prognosis. Sarcoidosis
is more common in younger adults and generally has a
more benign prognosis.
This article aims to increase the reader’s understanding of
the aetiology of ILD and to provide a general approach to
diagnosis along with the basic principles of management of
As ILDs can progress to pulmonary fibrosis, early detection
is important. The clinical course of ILD varies considerably,
largely determined by the underlying cause. While some
forms of ILD remain essentially untreatable, many forms
respond well to treatment. It is therefore imperative that a
prompt and accurate diagnosis of the underlying cause is
made so that appropriate management can be instituted.
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