A quick guide to interstitial lung disease
Interstitial lung disease (ILD) is a general term for a number of diseases characterised by progressive pulmonary fibrosis or ‘scarring’ of the lungs. The term fibrosis implies formation of abnormal connective tissue within the lung parenchyma. These diseases are less commonly seen in primary care than airways diseases such as asthma and COPD. However, like COPD, they produce progressive debilitating breathlessness for the patient. It is important that practice nurses, particularly those with an interest in respiratory diseases, are aware of this group of diseases and their management as early referral to specialist care is important.