Pulmonary fibrosis life expectancy

Your life expectancy with pulmonary fibrosis can be difficult to predict as it depends on several factors.

What is your life expectancy with pulmonary fibrosis?

Progressive pulmonary fibrosis is a life-limiting disease. While trends in life expectancy are improving, no one can tell an individual exactly how long they will live. Research that suggests an average life expectancy of between 3–5 years, was carried out before treatments that can slow down the rate of lung scarring were widely available. There are many factors that will affect life expectancy such as the cause of pulmonary fibrosis, a person’s age and any underlying health conditions. How long you live with pulmonary fibrosis depends on whether you have idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis or another condition, your general health and your age. 

Find out more about the stages of pulmonary fibrosis and end of life signs and care for pulmonary fibrosis.

Looking after yourself

The better your general health, the better your chances of living well with pulmonary fibrosis. 

Some people with pulmonary fibrosis lose their appetite. You may also suffer from heartburn or reflux. If you are underweight, you may want to eat six to eight smaller, calorie-rich meals instead of three large meals a day. 

Some patients with pulmonary fibrosis put on weight because they are on steroids or because they’re less active as a result of breathlessness. It’s a good idea to watch your portion sizes, and eat as many simply-cooked fruit and vegetables as possible.

Although exercising with pulmonary fibrosis can be difficult, try to stay active. Exercise doesn’t have to be strenuous. Start with 20-30 minutes a day of walking or light gardening. Build exercise into your daily routine. 

Drug treatments

Although there is not yet a cure for pulmonary fibrosis, new drugs are becoming available which can reduce the rate that scar tissue forms.

Researchers conduct clinical trials to advance treatment options for pulmonary fibrosis.

For some people, lung transplantation may be an option.

Pulmonary fibrosis conditions

Find out more about the progression of different pulmonary fibrosis conditions:


COVID-19 related pulmonary fibrosis

Drug-induced pulmonary fibrosis

Hypersensitivity pneumonitis

Idiopathic NSIP

Idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis

Rheumatoid arthritis-ILD

Systemic sclerosis 


Get support

Join a support group in your area

It’s important to remember that you are not alone. There are now over 75 pulmonary fibrosis support groups around the country.

Support groups meet informally to share experiences, provide expert information and raise funds and awareness. Find a support group near you.

Call our support line

APF runs an email and telephone support line offering information and advice about living with PF. Get in touch with our friendly helpline team, we are here to help.

Information provided by Action for Pulmonary Fibrosis (APF) is not a substitute for professional medical advice. It’s intended as general information only. APF is not responsible for any errors or omissions or for any loss or damage suffered by users resulting from the information published on actionpf.org.

Further information for carers:

Your essential caring guide (PDF)
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