Medical Q&As

Interstitial pneumonitis - explain?

My father was recently diagnosed with interstitial pneumonitis. Can you please tell me about more about it and it's treatments.

Interstitial pneumonitis is an umbrella term that refers to a particular set of changes in the lungs that can happen for a wide variety of different reasons. The predominant complaint is one of breathlessness, which can appear insidiously and become progressive over time. Biopsy is often the only method of documenting the type and cause of the pneumonitis. The outlook for the disease is very variable and largely depends on the underlying condition that has triggered the inflammation in the lung. The pneumonitis can be infective in origin and can be triggered by a wide variety of viruses, bacteria, fungi or parasites. It may be occupational in origin and can be caused by exposure to various forms of dust or even chemical fumes. Coal minerís lung and asbestosis (due to exposure to asbestos fibres) are both examples of occupation related pneumonitis. Cystic fibrosis is an example of a congenital form of the condition. Sometimes interstitial pneumonitis can occur as a result of malignant disease. The list of causes is long and goes on to include metabolic disorders, circulatory disorders, hypersensitivity reactions such as farmerís lung, adverse drug reactions, sarcoidosis and several miscellaneous conditions of unknown origin. I hope that the list of causes that I have given is not confusing to you and serves to illustrate that the treatment of the condition very much depends on establishing the underlying cause.