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Restrictive Lung Disease: Facts You Need to Know

Restrictive Lung Disease: Facts You Need to Know

There are two major classifications for chronic lung diseases. One group of chronic lung diseases is classified as obstructive lung disease, which includes chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, (COPD) and emphysema. The other group is classified as restrictive lung disease. Examples of restrictive lung diseases include interstitial lung disease and pulmonary fibrosis. Understanding your condition is the first step to a better quality of life, and we’re here to help. Here are the facts you need to know about restrictive lung disease.

What is restrictive lung disease?

People with restrictive lung disease cannot fully fill their lungs with air because their lungs are restricted from fully expanding. People find it difficult to take a full breath. Often, restrictive lung disease results from a condition causing stiffness in the lungs themselves. Restrictive lung diseases are categorized as intrinsic and extrinsic.

Certain types of restrictive lung disease are called intrinsic restrictive lung disorders. Intrinsic disorders come from a problem within the lungs themselves.

Intrinsic Restrictive Lung Disorders include:

  • Interstitial lung disease
  • Idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis
  • Pulmonary Fibrosis
  • Sarcoidosis
  • Pneumoconiosis

Sometimes, restriction is caused by weak muscles, stiffness in the chest wall or damaged nerves. Extrinsic restrictive lung disorders cause lung problems to occur from disorders outside of the lungs. This means that the restriction and lung problems originate from outside of the lungs.

Extrinsic Restrictive Lung Disorders include:

  • Obesity
  • Pleural Effusion
  • Myasthenia gravis
  • Scoliosis
  • Neuromuscular disease, such as muscular dystrophy or Lou Gehrig’s Disease (ALS)

Restrictive lung disease is characterized by reduced total lung capacity (TLC). Total lung capacity represents the amount of air present in the lungs after taking the deepest breath possible. TLC is determined during a pulmonary function test. Knowing the total lung capacity of someone with restrictive lung disease is important to confirm lung restriction and to measure the degree of restriction.

What are the restrictive lung disease symptoms?

Restrictive Lung Disease: Facts You Need to Know

There are several common symptoms with shortness of breath at the top of the list. In the early stages of the disease, shortness of breath may occur only with exertion. However, as the disease progresses, shortness of breath or breathlessness may occur with minimal activity or during rest.

Another common symptom is a chronic cough. Typically, the cough is dry, but it may also produce white sputum. Weight loss and fatigue are common symptoms as well. Many people find it challenging maintain a healthy weight and to have enough energy.

Some people with restrictive lung disease experience symptoms of depression and anxiety. These symptoms happen more often when the lung disease causes significant limitations.

What are the restrictive lung disease treatments?

Many types of restrictive lung diseases are progressive, meaning they will worsen over time. However, treatments are available and vary depending on the patient’s individual needs.

For example, Esbriet and Ofev are two FDA-approved medications sometimes used to treat idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis. Pulmonary fibrosis is a type of restrictive lung disease. Other types of treatments work to reduce inflammation and suppress the immune system. These medications include corticosteroids, azathioprine, cyclophosamide and methotrexate.

Many people with restrictive lung disease use oxygen therapy to help maintain blood oxygen levels. Sometimes, lung transplantation surgery is recommended in cases of severe or end-stage restrictive lung disease.

For people with certain types of restrictive lung disease, such as pulmonary fibrosis, interstitial lung disease, idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis or pneumoconiosis, stem cell treatment is available. Stem cell therapy works to promote healing from within the lungs, potentially improving lung function and quality of life.

Under the supervision of their doctors, some people have reduced their oxygen therapy use after treatment. If you or a loved one has pulmonary fibrosis, interstitial lung disease, pneumoconiosis or another chronic lung disease and would like to learn more about stem cell treatment options, contact us at (800) 729-3065.


  1. Lung Institute

    4 weeks ago


    Thank you for your question and we are sorry to hear about your condition.

    We’re happy to answer your questions about stem cell therapy for chronic lung diseases. We have a dedicated medical team who have a wealth of knowledge about stem cells, treatment options, candidacy, cost and more. So, feel free to give us a call at (855) 313-1149. We look forward to hearing from you soon.


    The Lung Institute

  2. Don H. Collins

    4 weeks ago

    I was diagnosed with resrictive lung disease and would like to know about stem cell therapy

  3. Lung Institute

    4 months ago


    Thank you for your comment. It is difficult to say how quickly or slowly a lung disease will progress. Much of it has to do with how the person is living their life. Did they make lifestyle changes to help address the disease. Quitting smoking is the single best thing a person can do. Exercise is also important.

    Our team has a wealth of knowledge about stem cells, treatment, candidacy and cost. We’re happy to answer your questions. Feel free to give us a call at (855) 313-1149 to speak one-on-one with our dedicated medical team. We look forward to hearing from you soon.


    The Lung Institute

  4. Mary

    5 months ago

    I took several test one in some kind if chamber and was told i have mild restr Lung disease. I am a female amist 52 years old. How long before it gets worse? Should i be concerned with a shorter life span?

  5. Lung Institute

    6 months ago


    Thank you for your message. First, we would recommend regular contact with your primary doctor and see what he/she suggests.

    Here is a link to our testimonial page so you may get an idea how people feel after our treatments.

    If you are interested in stem cell therapy we encourage you to contact one of our patient coordinators at at (855) 313-1149, and we look forward to hearing from you soon.


    The Lung Institute

  6. Lung Institute

    6 months ago

    Thank you for the message and we hope we may be able to offer some help. First, you may want to see your primary physician and see if he/she might be able to perform tests or recommend a specialist to get an accurate diagnosis. Also, you are welcome to contact one of our patient coordinators to discuss your situation.

    In order for our medical team to determine if you are a candidate and which treatment option may work best for you, we need to gather more medical information. To do this, we need to speak with you one-on-one over our secure phone line. Our dedicated medical team has a wealth of knowledge about stem cells, treatment options, candidacy, cost and more. We’re happy to answer your questions, so feel free to give us a call at (855) 313-1149. We look forward to hearing from you soon.

    Best Regards,

    The Lung Institute

  7. Jim Crofoot

    6 months ago

    I was diagnosed with resrictive lung disease, however, I do not know what type I have. I would likE guideance on the issue.

  8. Anuradha .G

    8 months ago

    My husband aged 69 was diagonized to have lid during a routine master health check up in 2016 . He was totally asymptomatic then . Was administered Nacetylcystine. 600 mgm thrice a day . And proton pump inhibitrtor pan d twice a day . Since three months he has shortness of breath , functional capacity is less than 2 Mets . O2 saturation at rest is 92 . But even if he walks 10 yards it goes down to 85 . He is on home oxygenator 3 litres for 12 hours 8pm to 8am . He is also on Nebivolol 2.5 mgm for grade one hypertension. He doesn’t do any exercises . Can you highlighten on further management

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* All treatments performed at Lung Institute utilize autologous stem cells, meaning those derived from a patient's own body. No fetal or embryonic stem cells are utilized in Lung Institute's procedures. Lung Institute aims to improve patients' quality of life and help them breathe easier through the use of autologous stem cell therapy. To learn more about how stem cells work for lung disease, click here.

All claims made regarding the efficacy of Lung Institute's treatments as they pertain to pulmonary conditions are based solely on anecdotal support collected by Lung Institute. Individual conditions, treatment and outcomes may vary and are not necessarily indicative of future results. Testimonial participation is voluntary. Lung Institute does not pay for or script patient testimonials.

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