Dayton Respiratory Center
COPD (Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease) is a progressive disorder marked by inflammation and mucus build-up in the airways and lungs.
While there's no cure, you can manage the condition and maximize life expectancy by making positive lifestyle changes. But first, you need to understand how COPD worsens over time.
Let's look into the different stages of COPD, how quickly the disease progresses, and how to manage your condition effectively.
There are two ways to group the stages of COPD: GOLD grades and ABCD groups.
The GOLD system has four COPD stages (or grades) based on a person's FEV1 (forced expiratory volume) — a measurement of how much air you can forcefully exhale in one second.
The GOLD stages include the following:
The ABCD system classifies COPD by the number of COPD exacerbations and/or hospitalizations over the past year.
The ABCD groups include the following:
COPD affects everyone differently. You need an individualized treatment approach for your particular needs.
Grading helps your doctor determine the best treatment plan for your symptoms and lung function — allowing you to manage your condition most effectively.
While COPD is a progressive disease, it's impossible to predict how quickly a person moves from one stage to another.
Some people live with mild or moderate COPD for years, while others very quickly progress to the end stage of COPD.
Each case of COPD is different, but some factors that can speed up its progression include:
COPD is a chronic disease, not a terminal illness. If detected early, it can be effectively managed. However, lung damage is irreversible, so failure to stay on top of the condition can shorten your life span.
Life expectancy with COPD depends on the disease's severity and a person's age, health, and lifestyle.
Though there are no hard-and-fast rules, healthcare professionals use the BODE index to calculate the average lifespan of COPD patients.
BODE includes the following:
Your total BODE score — which ranges from 0 to 10 — includes the scores of each element added together. The lower the score, the higher your life expectancy.
Note: The BODE score isn't always the most accurate measurement of COPD life expectancy. Each individual's COPD progression is unique.
There is no known cure for COPD, but proper treatments and lifestyle changes can slow its progression and improve your quality of life.
Here are some healthy steps you can take:
You can also schedule regular check-ups and lung function tests to monitor your COPD. This helps your doctor see whether your condition has progressed so they can change your treatment plan as necessary.
Ultimately, making healthy choices and working alongside your provider gives you the best chance at managing your COPD.
COPD progresses as your lung function deteriorates over time. The damage caused to your lungs is irreversible, so it's important to catch the disease in its early stages.
Talk to your doctor if you experience a chronic cough or any other symptoms of COPD.
Although no one can predict COPD progression and life expectancy perfectly, early detection and healthy lifestyle habits improve your chances of long-term COPD management.
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