Affiliations
Also part of the UPMC family:
Also part of the UPMC family:

Conditions We Treat

UPMC Content 3

We treat Interstitial lung diseases (ILDs), which primarily affects the air sacs of the lung (alveoli), where the body absorbs oxygen and rids itself of carbon dioxide waste, rather than the tubes (bronchi) that conduct air into the alveoli. These diseases cause inflammation and scarring in this critical region of the lung that leads to two major problems:

  • Stiffening of the lungs, which makes it difficult to take a big breath
  • Impairment of the lung's ability to transport oxygen from the air in the alveoli to the red blood cells, which carry the oxygen to the rest of the body

The increase in the work of breathing and rapid decline in blood oxygen during exertion cause people with ILDs to become short of breath even at low levels of exertion. This type of shortness of breath is called dyspnea and is often associated with some level of anxiety and outright fear.

There are many types of ILD. Doctors don't know what causes many of these conditions. Diagnosis often requires obtaining tissue from the lung. The two most common forms of ILD are:

Below is a diagram of healthy lungs.

Healthy Lung Diagram