Interstitial pneumonia is a type of lung disease caused by fungi, bacteria or viruses infecting the lung's interstitial, according to WebMD. Other possible causes of this disease include autoimmune diseases, radiation treatment to the chest area, cigarette smoking, and exposure to asbestos, cotton dust, silica dust and coal dust. Interstitial pneumonia can also occur without any known cause, as noted by the National Institutes of Health's MedlinePlus.
One of the main symptoms of interstitial pneumonia is shortness of breath, but patients may also experience muscle and joint pain, weight loss, fatigue and bluish coloring to their lips. It is important for patients with interstitial pneumonia to contact their health care provider if they experience a fever, cough up dark mucus, feel extra tired or confused or have frequent headaches and shallow breathing.
There are numerous treatments available for interstitial pneumonia depending on the cause and the severity of the condition. The most common treatments for the disease include lung rehabilitation, medications for reducing swelling in the lungs, medications for suppressing the immune system and home oxygen therapy.
When there is no known cause for the condition, there are no effective treatment options available. In these circumstances, primary care physicians try to suggest ways to make the patient more comfortable. For severe cases of interstitial pneumonia, a lung transplant may be needed.