- By sahlhealth
- May 18, 2021
- 22 views
Pneumonitis (noo-moe-NIE-tis) is a general term that refers to inflammation of lung tissue. Technically, pneumonia is a type of pneumonitis because the infection causes inflammation. Pneumonitis, however, is usually used by doctors to refer to noninfectious causes of lung inflammation.
Common causes of pneumonitis include airborne irritants at your job or from your hobbies. In addition, some types of cancer treatments and dozens of drugs can cause pneumonitis.
Difficulty breathing — often accompanied by a dry (nonproductive) a cough — is the most common symptom of pneumonitis. Specialized tests are necessary to make a diagnosis. Treatment focuses on avoiding irritants and reducing inflammation.
The most common symptom of pneumonitis is shortness of breath, which may be accompanied by a dry cough. If pneumonitis is undetected or left untreated, you may gradually develop chronic pneumonitis, which can result in scarring (fibrosis) in the lungs.
Signs and symptoms of chronic pneumonitis include:
Shortness of breath
Loss of appetite
Unintentional weight loss
If you have hypersensitivity or chemical pneumonitis, your doctor will recommend eliminating exposure to the allergen or chemical irritating your lungs. This step should help lessen your symptoms.
In severe cases of pneumonitis, treatment may also include:
Corticosteroids. These drugs work by suppressing your immune system, reducing inflammation in your lungs. Corticosteroids are usually taken as a pill. However, long-term corticosteroid use also increases your risk of developing infections and is associated with the thinning of bones (osteoporosis).
Oxygen therapy. If you're having a lot of trouble breathing, you may need oxygen therapy through a mask or plastic tubing with prongs that fit into your nostrils. Some people need oxygen therapy constantly, while others might need it only during exercise or sleep.