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Idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis (IPF)

Symptoms of IPF

The first symptom you might notice is getting out of breath when you’re exerting yourself.

The main symptoms of IPF are:

  • breathlessness
  • a cough that doesn’t go away
  • feeling tired all the time
  • clubbing

If you have IPF, the first symptom you might notice is getting out of breath when you’re exerting yourself, such as climbing stairs.

But you might feel constantly short of breath, and not just when you’re moving about. If you feel breathless, don’t ignore it - see your doctor.


A cough that doesn’t go away and feeling very tired all the time are two other symptoms of IPF.

Another change is clubbing, which that can affect some people’s finger and toe nails. You may notice your nails changing shape to become like a drumstick: the tips of the fingers get bigger and the nails curve around the finger tips, and the base of the nail feels spongy.

Having this doesn’t mean you have IPF, it can occur in other conditions too. But check with your doctor if you notice it developing.

Next: Diagnosing IPF >


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Last medically reviewed: August 2019. Due for review: August 2022

This information uses the best available medical evidence and was produced with the support of people living with lung conditions. Find out how we produce our information. If you’d like to see our references get in touch.