How is interstitial lung disease diagnosed?

Because there are many types of ILD, doctors use many methods to diagnose it, including the following:

  • A physical exam. The doctor will also ask if you have any systemic conditions (disorders that affect the entire body) or have had any exposure to harmful substances.
  • A lung function test to check how well your lungs are working
  • Imaging tests such as X-ray and a high-resolution computed tomography (CT scan)
  • Bronchoscopy, a test in which the doctor inserts a device called a bronchoscope through your nose or mouth into your lungs to look inside your airways.
  • In some cases, a doctor will take a sample of lung tissue. A test of this tissue, called a biopsy, can further identify the type of ILD. During a biopsy, your doctor removes a small sample of tissue from the lung and studies it under a microscope to help identify the type of ILD.

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