What Is Ground Glass Interstitial Disease of the Lung?

Ground glass opacification is a radiology term that refers to a hazy area of increased attenuation in the lung on an x-ray, explain Radiopaedia.org medical experts. Interstitial lung disease describes a large group of lung disorders which cause progressive scarring of lung tissue, according to Mayo Clinic.

The presence of ground-glass opacification indicates the possibility of diseases such as interstitial lung disease and infections that include cytomegalovirus and Pneumocystis carinii pneumonia, states Radiopaedia.org.

Ground-glass opacification is often detected following cough or infection symptoms and best described as a “veil” that covers the lung parenchyma and more closely associated with inflammation or infection, rather than cancer or bronchioloalveolar carcinoma.

Interstitial lung disease, known as ‘diffuse parenchymal lung disease,’ affects the ability to breathe by impairing the delivery of oxygen to the bloodstream; symptoms include shortness of breath and dry cough. Interstitial lung disease may be caused by long term exposure to a variety of irritants such as asbestos, silica dust, talc and coal dust, according to Mayo Clinic.

Treatments for interstitial lung disease are prescribed based on the cause of the affliction. Drugs that suppress the immune system and reduce swelling in the lungs are prescribed if an autoimmune disease is causing the problem. Doctors also suggest that smoking patients quit the habit and consider oxygen therapy, explains Mayo Clinic.