People close to IPF patients and those they interact with — from family members and acquaintances to healthcare professionals — influence their acceptance of their disease and quality of life, a small U.K. study reports.

It found that a solid understanding of IPF’s nature and disease course is key to both patients and their families, and emphasis should be placed on coping strategies that might improve life quality, from physical activity to joining support groups.

These findings were published in the study, “Patients’ experiences of coping with idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis and their recommendations for its clinical management,” in the journal Plos One.

IPF progression varies among patients, with some experiencing a slow decline over years while others decline rapidly.