What is non-specific interstitial pneumonia?

Non-specific interstitial pneumonia (NSIP) patients are usually younger than people with IPF, and more likely to be female.

Causes of non-specific interstitial  pneumonia

Non-specific interstitial pneumonia can be associated with  autoimmune diseases such as systemic sclerosis, systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE), Sjogren’s syndrome and rheumatoid arthritis.

It can also be idiopathic, which means no specific cause can be  identified.


People with NSIP are usually breathless and may have a cough. They may also experience other symptoms of autoimmune diseases such as skin rashes, joint pains, dry eyes, dry mouth, mouth ulcers and fatigue.  Find out more about pulmonary fibrosis and its symptoms.


Typically, you will be offered a trial of immunosuppressive therapy, particularly if the NSIP is associated with an autoimmune disease.

You may also be offered pulmonary rehabilitation and oxygen therapy to help improve your quality of life.

Ongoing treatment

Your medical team will monitor your lung disease regularly to determine if your treatment is effective.


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.

[fs-toc-omit] Other forms of pulmonary fibrosis

[fs-toc-omit] 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 group near you.

Call our support line

APF runs an email and telephone support line offering information and advice about living with PF. Find out more.

Find us on social media

We have an active and supportive online community ready to welcome you on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram for updates, news and connections to our online community.

Watch videos of how other people cope day to day with PF.

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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