What demographic features can help distinguish the cause of the peripheral reticular pattern?
Asbestosis and IPF are disorders of elderly patients, usually individuals older than 50, whereas connective tissue disorders tend to affect younger individuals, often in their 30s and 40s. Patients must have had an extensive exposure to asbestos dust to acquire asbestosis. Nearly all patients with asbestosis have an occupational exposure to asbestos, such as from mining, roofing, car brake shoe repair, shipyard work, or boiler making. Asbestosis is almost exclusively seen in men because few women have sufficient asbestos dust exposure to acquire the disease. Connective tissue disorders are more commonly encountered in women, and more patients with connective tissue–related interstitial lung disease are women.