Interstitial lung diseases - problem of ageing societies

Marcin Golec, Magdalena Wladysiuk-Blicharz, Radoslaw Spiewak

Department of Health Promotion, Institute of Public Health, Faculty of Health Care, Jagiellonian University Medical College, Krakow, Poland

Source: Golec M, Wladysiuk-Blicharz M, Spiewak R. Srodmiazszowe choroby pluc i zwloknienie pluc - problem starzejacych sie spoleczenstw. Pol Merk Lek 2007, 23 (136): 288-290 (in Polish).


Chronic lung diseases are on increase mainly in developed countries that are characteristic by ageing societies. Despite this, interstitial lung diseases, together with lung fibrosis, seemed to be forgotten by researchers and clinicians till last years. Sufficient epidemiological data are lacking (especially little is known on the environmental and occupational causative factors). No effective treatment is available so far - diagnostic and therapeutic options available nowadays are characterized by high costs (e.g. lung transplantation) and low effectiveness. The average age of patients first diagnosed with lung fibrosis is 61+/-0.7 years, which poses a rising public health problem of ageing societies, especially those in Europe, USA and Japan. The average duration of life after the diagnosis is only 3 years. Facing these facts, a new approach to this group of diseases is urgently needed. A first step should include thorough epidemiological studies aimed at identification of causes and risk factors of these diseases. Results of such research should be subsequently transferred into health policy. Especially needed are sensitive screening programs and development of effective treatment that would substantially improve life expectancy and quality of life of the affected people.

Key words: interstitial lung diseases (ILO), lung fibrosis, IPF, environmental factors, epidemiology, risk factors, quality of life, ageing society.

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