There are over 200 restrictive conditions of the respiratory system. Restrictive lung diseases, also known as interstitial lung diseases or ILD, are typically caused by inhaling environmental pollutants. These lung diseases are caused by lung inflammation and scarring, known as pulmonary fibrosis, which cause a decreased ability to hold air in the lungs. Common symptoms of restrictive lung diseases include coughing, shortness of breath, wheezing and chest pain.
All restrictive conditions of the respiratory system begin with inflammation of the lungs, which include bronchiolitis (inflammation of the bronchioles); alveolitis (inflammation of the alveoli or air sacs); and vasculitis (inflammation of the capillaries). Several more common interstitial conditions are the result of occupational hazards. All of the following restrictive conditions fall under the diagnosis of pneumoconiosis: Black lung disease is predominant in coal miners who inhale coal dust. Farmer's lung is caused by inhaling farm-related dust. Asbestosis is caused by inhaling small asbestos fibers. Siderosis is caused by inhaling iron from mines. Silicosis is cause by inhaling silica dust.
There are many other types of interstitial conditions, including sarcoidosis, idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis, bronchiolitis obliterans, histiocytosis x, chronic eosinophilic pneumonia, collagen vascular disease, Goodpasture's syndrome, and pulmonary alveolar proteinosis [source: Rush University Medical Center]. Extensive diagnostic testing, such as chest X-rays, CAT scans, and bronchoscopy, are required to make a specific interstitial diagnosis. A pulmonary function test can also determine the severity of the interstitial condition. This test measures the lungs' ability to exchange oxygen and carbon monoxide. A spirometer is also used to test lung function. Diagnostic testing may also include blood tests, bronchoalveolar lavage, and lung biopsy.