Investigators at the University of Cincinnati Academic Health Center in Ohio, led by Dr. Brent Kinder, say interstitial lung disease causes scarring of the lungs, is more difficult to diagnosis, is more difficult to treat than other kinds of lung diseases, and is often fatal.
The study, published in the journal Chest, finds those with interstitial lung disease were more likely than others to have vitamin D deficiencies. Most of those affected were fund to have undifferentiated connective tissue disease -- a chronic autoimmune disease affecting multiple organs but usually not developed enough to be easily recognized.
"These findings suggest that there is a high prevalence of vitamin D deficiency in patients with an interstitial lung disease particularly those with connective tissue disease," Kinder says in a statement.
Kinder and colleagues evaluated 25-hydroxyvitamin D levels in 118 patients -- 67 with connective tissue disease-related interstitial lung disease and 51 with other causes of lung fibrosis.
Notable deaths of 2014 [PHOTOS]