Interstitial lung disease (ILD)

There are more than 300 different ILDs but the large majority are very rare.

Interstitial lung diseases (ILDs), also known as diffuse parenchymal lung diseases, result from damage to the cells surrounding the alveoli (air sacs) leading to widespread inflammation and fibrotic scarring of the lungs.

They include pulmonary sarcoidosis, idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis, pneumoconiosis and many others.

Only about one in three cases of interstitial lung diseases has a known cause. Experts believe that a combination of genetics, which make people susceptible to the condition, and environmental factors may explain the development of some conditions, including sarcoidosis. Environmental factors have been recognised in 35% of people with interstitial lung disease.

Research into the prevalence of interstitial lung diseases is difficult as specific diagnoses are not always obtained.

 “It is vital that we improve awareness of interstitial lung diseases. If we can increase understanding among healthcare professionals and the wider public, we can improve the diagnosis and treatment of these conditions. We need better access to care across the world, including better availability of specialised services. Updated data on the spread of the disease as well as more large-scale studies, particularly focusing on the genetic causes of ILDs, are needed to improve prevention and treatment.” Katerina Antoniou, University of Crete and Head of the ERS Interstitial Lung Diseases assembly.

Interstitial lung diseases and pulmonary sarcoidosis in numbers

in 2019 in the WHO European region

The charts below present data from GBD studies to provide a uniform evaluation of the state of lung health. To find out more about how this data is put together, visit the methodology page. All charts are freely available to download by clicking the three dots in the top right hand corner. Please reference Lung Facts when sharing.

  • Europe: the big picture
  • Incidence rate
  • Incidence numbers
  • Prevalence rate
  • Prevalence numbers
  • Mortality rate
  • Mortality numbers
  • Years of life lost (YLL) rate
  • Years of life lost (YLL) numbers
  • Disability-adjusted life years (DALY) rate
  • Disability-adjusted life years (DALY) numbers
  • Monetised DALYS – societal cost for whole population in international dollars
  • Monetised DALYS – societal cost per 100,000 people in international dollars