The official blog of the Lung Institute.

Idiopathic Pulmonary Fibrosis Stages and Life Expectancy

Idiopathic Pulmonary Fibrosis Stages and Life Expectancy

Understanding your idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis stages and life expectancy is critical to knowing what’s next.

For those who have been diagnosed with idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis (IPF), knowing what’s next and what you can do will often prompt some difficult questions. Some of the question include “what is the disease,” what are its stages” and what’s its associated life expectancy?” Few people like to reflect on their own mortality, but when facing a diagnosis such as IPF, it’s important to be direct and forthcoming with what’s to be expected. In this way, it’s possible to directly address the root problems of the disease’s symptom expression and overall progression through changes in personal health and proven treatment options.

So, what are idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis stages and life expectancy?

In short, idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis is a restrictive lung disease that results in scarring within the lungs. The term idiopathic means that it is derived from an unknown origin. This means that for those who have IPF, the cause of the development of the disease is unknown.

Although this can be frustrating—particularly as you navigate your disease symptoms and life expectancy—the Lung Institute is here to breakdown your disease, what you can expect and to underscore the necessary changes you need to make in order to live the longest and most comfortable life moving forward.

With your health in mind, we’re here to explore Idiopathic Pulmonary Fibrosis Stages and Life Expectancy and show you how you can get your life back amidst the confusion.

What Are the Idiopathic Pulmonary Fibrosis Stages and Its Life Expectancy?

As we mentioned above, IPF is a restrictive lung disease that originates and develops within the lungs, primarily characterized by the excessive scarring of the lungs’ pathways. When these passageways begin to thicken and harden, it makes the inhalation of oxygen and its ease of passage difficult. As a result, for those with IPF, symptoms of breathlessness, shortness of breath and an overall difficulty in breathing can be expected.

In staging a lung disease’s life expectancy, the predominant tests commonly associated with this practice are the GOLD system and the BODE index. These two individual assessments rely largely on quantitative scoring on a patient’s pulmonary function test results. In the case of the BODE index, several other physical metrics, such as a 6-minute walk test, further expand upon the lungs’ ability to function.

Although these assessments are largely general in nature, allowing for discrepancies in overall outlooks on a person-to-person basis, the pulmonary stages are typically broken down into mild, moderate, severe and advanced. After this initial staging, doctors will then make recommendations for treatment.

Here’s How the Stages Breakdown:

  • Mild and Moderate stages typically carry a life expectancy of 5+ years if the patient’s personal health is maintained (eating healthy, exercising, quitting smoking, etc.) along with a combined treatment regimen.
  • Severe stages commonly carry a life expectancy of less than 5 years, and treatment is often a necessity
  • Advanced stages usually carry a life expectancy of less than 3 years, and in extreme cases invasive treatment options such as transplant and reduction may be imperative.

While doctors use the idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis stage to estimate life expectancy, there is no way for anyone to accurately give an exact life expectancy. These tools are meant to help doctors better understand the severity of your disease, estimate life expectancy and develop the best treatment plan for you.

What Can I Do to Improve My Health?

Although we’ve written on this topic extensively, it always bears repeating:

Quit smoking immediately if you’ve continued to do so after your diagnosis. Not only will actively smoking physically harm your lungs and worsen your diseases progression, but it will ultimately reduce your life span even further.

In no world is the benefit of smoking worth the cost of losing time with your family and grandchildren.

Eat Healthy by upping your intake of protein (chicken, fish, lean meats) as well as your daily amount of fruits, vegetables and healthy grains. The rules of a healthy diet are a bit simpler than we think. Choose whole grain bread instead of white bread. Eat less meat than you eat vegetables and fruits. Look for plant based alternatives to meat when trying to take in more protein such as peanuts, almonds and cashews. Swap milk for almond or soy milk and avoid excessive consumption of fatty foods like fried foods and cheese.

Get Out and Exercise by starting today and not tomorrow. You don’t have to get a new gym membership in order to change your lifestyle for the better. Walking is one of the best exercises out there, doesn’t require any special equipment and you’ve been doing it since you were a baby. Take 15 minutes today to get up and walk to the mailbox. If that sounds easy, get up and walk down the street. If you’re still looking for a challenge, walk until you get tired then walk back. The point is to challenge yourself and make your body work harder, get stronger and be able to better handle an exacerbation when one occurs without leaving you breathless.

Moving Forward

A recent diagnosis of idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis can be difficult to deal with. Particularly given that the cause is unknown, it can cause your quality of life and overall health to decline. However, IPF isn’t universal in its life expectancy nor its effect on quality of life. In truth, the disease affects everyone differently depending on their personal health, genetic history and behavior. Quitting smoking is a start, followed by a change in diet and improving one’s exercise. Each of these personal changes can have a profound effect on personal life expectancy for idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis.

You just need to start today.

Although these changes can be significant, they do not replace the need for proper treatment. If you’re looking to not only change your personal health outlook but to have the potential to improve your quality of life, it may be time to consider stem cell therapy as a treatment option.

For more information on stem cell therapy and what it could mean for your life moving forward, contact us today or call us at (800) 729-3065. Our patient coordinators will walk you through our available treatment options and talk through your current health and medical history.

Interested in our article on Idiopathic Pulmonary Fibrosis Stages and Life Expectancy? Share your thoughts and comments below.


  1. Lung Institute

    5 months ago


    Thank you for your comment. Our dedicated medical team has a wealth of knowledge about stem cells, treatment options, candidacy, cost and more. We’re happy to answer your questions, so feel free to give us a call at (855) 313-1149. We look forward to hearing from you soon.


    The Lung Institute

  2. Lung Institute

    5 months ago


    The Lung Institute is the leading medical provider of regenerative cellular therapy for lung diseases such as chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), pulmonary fibrosis and interstitial lung disease in the United States. We have treated more than 5,000 patients. The Lung Institute’s in-house outcomes summary shows that 84.5 percent of COPD patients studied saw an improvement in their quality of life.

    We’re happy to answer your questions. Feel free to give us a call at (855) 313-1149 to speak one-on-one with our dedicated medical team. We look forward to hearing from you soon.


    The Lung Institute

  3. Lung Institute

    5 months ago


    Every case is different. I would recommend contacting one of our patient coordinators. It’s best to speak one-on-one with one of our well-qualified patient coordinators. They have a wealth of knowledge about stem cells, treatment options, candidacy and cost. Chronic lung diseases affect everyone differently, so we can best help you by speaking with you over the phone. Feel free to contact us at (855) 313-1149, and we look forward to hearing from you soon.

    Kind regards,

    The Lung Institute

  4. Carolyn toland

    5 months ago


    This is a question that requires a little more information. I would suggest contacting one of our patient coordinators. They will be happy to answer your questions about stem cell therapy, so feel free to contact us at (855) 313-1149 to speak one-on-one with a patient coordinator. We look forward to hearing from you soon.


    The Lung Institute

  5. Cynthia Chaffin

    6 months ago

    Can it be too late to get treatment’, as if the patient is in hospice care?

  6. Dodie

    7 months ago

    I am interested in stem cell therapy. My sisters recently died of IPF., one had sjogrens. My brother is on the process of work up. He has been Diagmosed with sarcoidosis.

  7. bo

    7 months ago

    would like to know the success rate with stem cell therapy?

Your Comment

Your email address will not be published.

* 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.