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What are the symptoms of interstitial pneumonia?

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Quick Answer

Symptoms of interstitial pneumonia include shortness of breath and breathlessness, dry and nonproductive cough, and weight loss, notes WebMD. In most cases, symptoms tend to develop quickly, usually in a matter of hours or days.

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Interstitial pneumonia is a type of interstitial lung disease; other types include nonspecific interstitial pneumonitis, hypersensitivity pneumonitis, cryptogenic organizing pneumonia and acute interstitial pnumonitis, according to WebMD. Intestitial pneumonia is most commonly caused by the mycoplasma pneumonia bacterium and is characterized by bacteria, viruses or fungi that infect the interstitium of the lung. Additionally, routine exposure to inhaled irritants, such as silica dust, talc, coal dust or metal dusts from working in mining, grain dust and bird proteins can cause the disease.

Diagnosis of the disease involves the patient undergoing a complete medical history and physical examination, blood testing to examine electrolyte levels and blood cells counts, open lung biopsy, and imaging studies such as chest X-rays, high-resolution CT scans and echocardiograms, explains MedicineNet.

Treatment options depend on the cause and severity of the condition, and a definitive diagnosis is vital to the specific treatment regimen, notes MedicineNet. Treatment options may include antimicrobial agents, immunosuppressants, avoidance behavior and chemotherapy. In severe cases, respiratory support measures, such as supplemental oxygen and ventilator support, may be necessary.

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