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Pulmonary Fibrosis

Interstitial lung disease

06/15/2007

Question:

my mother was just diagnosed with interstitial lung disease. They don`t know which kind but it is being treated with steroids. the steroids are working. Now, what does all this mean? is she going to get well or is she fixen to die from this? We are so confused. One day she is having shortness of breath to now she has a disease. Please give me a clue to what to expect, please

Answer:

There are many different kinds of interstitial lung disease; depending on which diseases are included, probably around 150 or so. To determine which one of these a patient has, the physician will use the patient's history, physical examination, x-rays (often a high-resolution chest CT scan), pulmonary function tests, and blood tests. Often, a lung biopsy is required to establish a confident diagnosis.

Some kinds of interstitial lung disease do improve with steroids and so the patient's response to steroids can sometimes help narrow the number of possible diagnoses. Also, some patients are too ill to undergo lung biopsy or just do not want to undergo lung biopsy and in these patients, steroids are sometimes given in hopes that the condition is one of the ones that improve with steroids.

For more information:

Go to the Pulmonary Fibrosis health topic, where you can:

Response by:

James N Allen, Jr, MD James N Allen, Jr, MD
Clinical Professor of Pulmonary, Allergy, Critical Care & Sleep Medicine
College of Medicine
The Ohio State University