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What is IPF?

Idiopathic Pulmonary Fibrosis (IPF) is a progressive, irreversible, chronic disease of the lungs1, which currently affects between 80,000 and 111,000 people in Europe. Every year, additional 30,000-35,000 new patients will be diagnosed with IPF 2-6. In people suffering from this condition, the normally thin and pliable lung tissue becomes increasingly thick and scarred over time. As the scar tissue prevents oxygen from moving properly into the bloodstream7, the disease leads to a progressive decline in lung function. As a result, the brain and other organs do not receive enough oxygen, which initially leads to symptoms such as shortness of breath and chronic cough and eventually to respiratory failure and death8. IPF has no cure yet and is difficult to diagnose. Rapid deterioration in some patients means that many people only live 2 to 5 years after diagnosis.9

Between
80,000 - 111,000
people living in Europe have IPF

With some younger cases having been reported, IPF generally occurs in adults aged 50-80

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IPF is categorized as "idiopathic" meaning the cause of the disease is not yet known

Fewer than 5% of
IPF patients receive
lung transplants

2-5 years
is the average life expectancy
after diagnosis

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Approx. 30,000-35,000
new patients will be diagnosed with IPF each year


1. Navaratnam, V et al, ‘The rising incidence of idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis in the UK’, Thorax, 2011; 66, 462-467
2. European IPF Patient Charter. Available from: http://www.ipfcharter.org/. Last accessed 21.07.15.
3. Gribbin J, Hubbard RB, LeJeune I, Smith CJP, West J, Tata LJ: Incidence and mortality of idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis and sarcoidosis in the UK. Thorax 2006; 61: 980–985.
4. Navaratnam V, Fleming K, West J, Smith C, Jenkins R, Fogarty A, Hubbard R. The rising incidence of idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis in the UK. Thorax 2011; pp 462-467.
5. Ley B, Collard H, Epidemiology of Idiopathic Pulmonary Fibrosis, Clinical Epidemiology 2013, pp 483-492.
6. Eurostat News Release. Available at http://ec.europa.eu/eurostat. Accessed on 18 August 2014.
7. NHS Choices. Pulmonary Fibrosis (idiopathic). Available from: http://www.nhs.uk/conditions/pulmonary-fibrosis/Pages/Introduction.aspx. Accessed: 21 April 2015  
8. NHS Choices. Idiopathic Pulmonary Fibrosis. Causes. Available from: http://www.nhs.uk/Conditions/pulmonary-fibrosis/Pages/Causes.aspx. Accessed: 21 April 2015
9. Ley B, Ryerson CJ and Vittinghoff EA et al Ann Intern Med 2012 156 684-691 
10. Eurostat News Release. Availible at http://ec.europa.eu/eurostat. Accessed on 18 August 2014