The official blog of the Lung Institute.

Idiopathic Pulmonary Fibrosis Stages and You

Idiopathic Pulmonary Fibrosis Stages and You

People living with idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis (IPF), interstitial lung disease (ILD) and other chronic lung diseases have heard their doctors talk about the stages of their disease. Doctors place lung diseases into stages to help them understand the severity of your lung disease. Staging systems also show how lung disease affects your life and helps doctors develop the best treatment plan. For people with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), doctors use the GOLD System and the BODE Index to determine a patient’s COPD stage. However, the idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis stages are not as well defined. To help you better understand your condition and the idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis stages, here’s what you need to know.

What is Idiopathic Pulmonary Fibrosis?

In idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis, the lungs become scarred, causing the intricate passageways to thicken and harden. The free passage of oxygen through the walls of the lungs’ tiny air sacs or alveoli into the bloodstream becomes obstructed. As a result, the lack of oxygen in the bloodstream leaves people with idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis feeling short of breath even after rest. Idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis affects everyone differently and at varying rates of disease progression.

What are the Idiopathic Pulmonary Fibrosis Stages?

Typically, disease severity is evaluated based on symptoms, pulmonary function tests, exercise capacity and images of lung structures from CT scans. Your doctor will likely recommend repeating CT scans, 6-minute walk tests and pulmonary function tests over time to track the progression of your condition.

Idiopathic Pulmonary Fibrosis Stages and You

Traditionally, the idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis stages are mild, moderate, severe, early and advanced. These stages have helped doctors determine the best course of treatment. However, the traditional stages are limited. Typically, the results from a pulmonary function test help doctors categorize idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis into stages. Idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis does not progress the same way in each patient, so a better staging system is needed.

New Developments in the Idiopathic Pulmonary Fibrosis Stages

Assessing the idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis stages requires a more complex approach. Doctors and researchers have been working on a more sophisticated staging system, called the GAP IndexThe GAP Index has four predictors: age, recent respiratory hospitalization, baseline forced vital capacity or FVC and 24-week change in FVC. Doctors use the sum of the individual scores for each factor to obtain a score.

Recently, doctors and researchers continued to improve the GAP Index, using a multidimensional risk prediction model and staging system. This GAP Index model consists of 4 baseline variables. These variables are gender, age and two lung physiology variables (FVC and diffusing capacity of carbon monoxide). Based on their research, they developed a GAP Index calculator to help doctors and patients better understand the idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis stages, how to treat each patient, the individual risk for each patient and where a patient might fall within those stages.

There are GAP Index calculators available online. Remember to talk with your doctor about your GAP Index results and any changes to your symptoms.

Idiopathic Pulmonary Fibrosis Treatment Options

Idiopathic Pulmonary Fibrosis Stages and You

You and your doctor will work together to develop the best treatment plan for you. Your doctor may use information gathered from your pulmonary function test, CT scan or other lung function testing. The idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis stages may also aid your doctor in monitoring your condition over time.

Many doctors prescribe medications, inhalers and oxygen therapy to help people with idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis manage their symptoms. For some people, alternative treatments, such as stem cell therapy, have helped people with idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis feel better. They enjoy an improved quality of life and breathe easier. If you or someone you love has idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis, interstitial lung disease or another chronic lung disease and would like to learn more about stem cell treatment options, contact us at (800) 729-3065.


  1. Lung Institute

    4 weeks ago


    The Lung Institute offers two different stem cell treatments for lung diseases.

    We offer a blood (venous) treatment
    We offer a bone marrow treatment.

    We’re happy to answer your questions about stem cell therapy, so feel free to contact us at (855) 313-1149. We look forward to hearing from you soon.


    The Lung Institute

  2. Lala M Hatcher

    4 weeks ago

    what other treatment options do you offer?

  3. Lung Institute

    5 months ago


    We are sorry to hear about your father’s condition. The Lung Institute has clinics in five cities in the United States.

    In order to determine if someone is a candidate for treatment, we need to gather more of their private medical history in a secure setting. The best way to do that is by giving us a call and speaking one-on-one with someone on our medical team over our secure phone line. We’re happy to answer your questions about stem cells, treatment options, candidacy and cost. So, feel free to contact us at (855) 313-1149. We look forward to hearing from you soon.


    The Lung Institute

  4. Ritu shikhariya

    5 months ago

    Hi, mY Father Is suffering from ild. He is Facing short breathness, countineS cough and mucus. We are trying to Get good treatment but all indian doctor does know anyting about this deases. Please if anyone know about this, please help…

  5. PB

    1 year ago

    Dear Edgard,

    Thanks for your comment. IPF affects everyone differently and at different rates of progression. Oxygen is important to every cell, organ and tissue in the body. People with chronic lung diseases can have difficulty maintaining adequate blood oxygen levels. Sometimes, doctors prescribe oxygen to help people with IPF receive enough oxygen. It’s important to talk with your doctor about your questions, concerns, changes in symptoms and about treatment options. Because your doctor knows you and your health situation well, he or she will be able to best guide you. We’re happy to answer your questions about stem cell treatment for IPF, 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.

    Kind Regards,

    The Lung Institute

  6. Edgard Ruiz

    1 year ago

    I have I.P.F for one year also taking OFEV Medicine the treatment have some side effects I like to know more about any options before I start taking oxigene Thanks.

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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.

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