The official blog of the Lung Institute.

What Causes Idiopathic Pulmonary Fibrosis?

What Causes Idiopathic Pulmonary Fibrosis?

When physicians cannot determine the precise cause of a patient’s pulmonary fibrosis, it is classified as idiopathic (of unknown origin). Idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis is extremely common. In fact, most cases of pulmonary fibrosis are not linked to one specific cause.

In most cases, idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis is actually the result of several different factors. These may include:

  • A genetic predisposition to lung damage
  • An autoimmune condition, such as rheumatoid arthritis, that causes the immune system to attack the lungs
  • Occupational exposure to asbestos, silica, coal dust or other toxic chemicals
  • Environmental exposure to certain bacteria, proteins or organic dusts
  • Radiation exposure (specifically, radiation therapy delivered to the chest)
  • Certain prescription medications, including propranolol, nitrofurantoin, bleomycin and oxalipatin)
  • Smoking or using tobacco products, which can increase oxidative stress and promote the progression of pulmonary fibrosis

Physicians usually treat idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis in the same ways that they treat inherited (familial) pulmonary fibrosis and pulmonary fibrosis caused by one specific, known trigger. Medications, respiratory therapy and supplemental oxygen are the most common treatments, although they are not the only options. Some patients consider alternatives, such as stem cell therapy, as well.

As the world’s only stem cell center that focuses exclusively on the treatment of lung conditions, the Lung Institute is an invaluable resource for patients with idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis. Our caring team has helped countless people alleviate their symptoms and improve their quality of life through our stem cell treatments, which can help relieve inflammation and potentially even slow the progression of the disease.

If you or a loved one has been diagnosed with idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis, the Lung Institute can help you start to breathe easier. Contact us today at (800) 729-3065 and we’ll help you determine if autologous stem cell therapy is right for you.


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* All treatments performed at Lung Institute utilize autologous stem cells, meaning those derived from a patient's own body. No fetal or embryonic stem cells are utilized in Lung Institute's procedures. Lung Institute aims to improve patients' quality of life and help them breathe easier through the use of autologous stem cell therapy. To learn more about how stem cells work for lung disease, click here.

All claims made regarding the efficacy of Lung Institute's treatments as they pertain to pulmonary conditions are based solely on anecdotal support collected by Lung Institute. Individual conditions, treatment and outcomes may vary and are not necessarily indicative of future results. Testimonial participation is voluntary. Lung Institute does not pay for or script patient testimonials.

Under current FDA guidelines and regulations 1271.10 and 1271.15, the Lung Institute complies with all necessary requirements for operation. The Lung Institute is firmly in accordance with the conditions set by the FDA for exemption status and conducts itself in full accordance with current guidelines. Any individual who accesses Lung Institute's website for information is encouraged to speak with his or her primary physician for treatment suggestions and conclusive evidence. All information on this site should be used for educational and informational use only.

As required by Texas state law, the Lung Institute Dallas Clinic has received Institutional Review Board (IRB) approval from MaGil IRB, now Chesapeake IRB, which is fully accredited by the Association for the Accreditation of Human Research Protection Program (AAHRPP), for research protocols and stem cell procedures. The Lung Institute has implemented these IRB approved standards at all of its clinics nationwide. Approval indicates that we follow rigorous standards for ethics, quality, and protections for human research.