Restrictive Lung Disease

A category of lung diseases known as restrictive lung disease prevents the lungs from completely expanding with air. Breathing becomes difficult as a result of this constraint. Restrictive lung disease is also chronic, it gets worse over time. Some causes of restrictive lung disease, on the other hand, may be reversed. Treatment for restrictive lung disease focuses on removing the causes, improving quality of life, slowing disease progression, and avoiding complications. Restrictive lung disease, or a reduction in the overall amount of air that the lungs can accommodate, is often caused by a decline in the lungs' elasticity or an issue with the expansion of the chest wall during inhalation.

Asbestosis, sarcoidosis, and pulmonary fibrosis are examples of restrictive lung diseases. Restrictive lung diseases are a group of pulmonary disorders identified by restrictive patterns on spirometry. These restrictive lung patterns shown by a spirometer reveal a deficiency in the lung(s)' respiratory capacity, which is caused by restrictive lung disease.


Symptoms of Restrictive Lung Disease

  • Coughing up blood
  • Chest Pain
  • Shortness of Breath
  • Weight Loss
  • Wheezing
  • Depression
  • Anxiety
  • Dizziness
  • Exhaustion
  • Persistent Coughing
  • Weakness
  • Achy Joints

Types of Restrictive Lung Disease

Intrinsic Disorder

Internal defects such as scarring, inflammation, and stiffening of the lung tissues occur as a result of it. Tuberculosis, pneumonia, lung cancer, interstitial lung disease, fibrosis, and inflammatory bowel disease may all result from this (IBD).

Extrinsic Disorder

External abnormalities include neurological conditions, weak muscles, nerve damage, and chest wall tissue hardening. Obesity, heart failure, malignant tumours, rib injury, diaphragm paralysis, and diaphragmatic hernia are all diseases that may result from this.


A careful history and physical exam are the first steps in diagnosing obstructive or restrictive lung disease, but pulmonary function tests and imaging tests are also necessary, particularly when the diagnosis is uncertain. These tests may also help doctors figure out whether multiple conditions are present at the same time, especially when a mixed pattern is discovered.

Restrictive Lung Disease Treatment

Oxygen Therapy

This is the most common therapy for people with restrictive lung disease because it helps them get enough oxygen because their lungs can't expand completely. Extra oxygen is provided to the patient through the nose with the aid of a mask in this therapy. The amount of oxygen required varies from person to person; some people need more oxygen at night, while others need it all of the time.


Chemotherapy can help reduce inflammation caused by pulmonary fibrosis, a restrictive lung disease. Chemotherapy, on the other hand, destroys healthy cells and may cause nausea, hair loss, and a weakened immune system, among other things.

Ventilator Therapy

A ventilator is a machine that aids in the intake of oxygen by the lungs. A ventilator, unlike oxygen treatment, supports ventilation with the use of a tube in the throat or a high-pressure mask. People with advanced restrictive lung disease can require the use of a ventilator to breathe. Ventilator therapy is dangerous or impossible for certain people. As a result, in extreme situations, extracorporeal membrane oxygenation (ECMO) is used to supply oxygen directly to the bloodstream. A doctor extracts blood from a big vein for ECMO. Blood is pumped through a membrane that provides oxygen before being returned to the body.

Lung Transplant

A doctor removes a diseased lung and replaces it with a healthy one during a lung transplant procedure. A lung transplant may be an option for people who have not progressed with other therapies, but they must be safe enough to undergo surgery. Lung transplants include the possibility of a happier, longer life, but they are also extremely dangerous. A person's survival may be jeopardised after a lung transplant if they undergo life-threatening complications such as organ rejection.

Stem Cell Therapy

While stem cell therapy is still an experimental procedure, it may give the possibility of a longer life for some people with restrictive lung disease. A doctor injects stem cells, which can transform into lung cells, into the lungs during stem cell therapy. Stem cell therapy has yet to be shown to function or be effective, according to research. People involved in stem cell therapy, on the other hand, will be eligible to enrol in clinical trials that include care and supervision.

Corticosteroid Therapy

The duration and dosage of this treatment are determined by the seriousness of the lung disease. It aids in immune suppression, inflammation reduction, and the progression of pulmonary fibrosis and sarcoidosis. However, dizziness, weight gain, mood swings, and shortness of breath are some of the side effects.

Clinical Trials

The treatment for restrictive lung disease is still changing. A clinical trial could be appropriate for those people who have symptoms of the disease. While there is no assurance that new treatments will succeed, many clinical trials have assisted people in improving their health.

Lifestyle Changes

Lifestyle changes can be beneficial. People who participate in pulmonary rehabilitation services gain a greater understanding of their oxygen requirements and learn to breathe more effectively. This information will help them cope better with their illness. Some people find that making dietary improvements, such as consuming smaller meals, can help with pulmonary fibrosis and other restrictive lung diseases. Weight loss can also help people with lung restrictions caused by obesity.


  • Condition your Breathing
  • Adopt Level Walking
  • Quit Smoking
  • Avoid going out in the polluted environment
  • Eat a balanced diet
  • Perform relaxation activities
  • Perform upper and lower limb strengthening exercises
  • Drink plenty of water


Restrictive lung disease is classified as mild, moderate, extreme, early, or advanced by doctors. The worse the prognosis becomes as the disease progresses. Treatment of an underlying cause of lung obstruction, such as obesity or scoliosis, can often delay or reverse the disease's progression. However, restrictive lung disease is normally difficult to manage because it is caused by a lung condition. Life expectancy is determined by a number of factors, the most important of which is the severity of the disease. The GAP Index is one way doctors measure outlook and life expectancy. This tool considers the person's age, recent respiratory hospitalizations, and the amount of air they may take in.

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Frequently Asked Questions

1. What are restrictive pulmonary disorders?

Restrictive lung diseases are extrapulmonary, pleural, or parenchymal respiratory diseases that limit lung expansion, resulting in a reduction in lung volume, increased work of breathing, and insufficient ventilation and/or oxygenation.

2. What is extrinsic restrictive lung disease?

Extrinsic restrictive lung disease can be caused by a variety of diseases and disorders, including pleural effusions, or the accumulation of excess fluid between the tissue layers covering the lungs, and neuromuscular disease or conditions,

3. Is there a cure for restrictive lung disease?

Restrictive lung diseases are a group of chronic lung diseases that limit the amount of air the lungs can expand when the person inhales. Although there is no cure for these diseases, the symptoms can be treated through a variety of approaches.