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?

How long you live with pulmonary fibrosis depends on whether you have idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis or another condition, your general health and your age. 

The severity of your pulmonary fibrosis at time of diagnosis will also make a difference. The earlier you are diagnosed, the longer you are likely to survive as your medical team can make sure you have the right treatments at the right time. 

The rate that your pulmonary fibrosis progresses can also affect your life expectancy. For some people, the lung disease progresses slowly over many years, whereas in others it can decline more quickly. 

A sudden worsening of pulmonary fibrosis, called an exacerbation, can occur at any time and is associated with a poorer outcome.  

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 help some people live longer with pulmonary fibrosis. 

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)
Print this article

You’ll find related articles here:

You might also find this helpful:

What is Pulmonary Fibrosis?
Personal stories
Support line
Support groups