Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease is also known as COPD, and it is a disease which destroys the airways in the lungs, making it to be the one of the top 5 causes of death in the United States, claiming about 100,000 lives. Most times, smoking or the consumption of tobacco is what causes COPD. Naturally, the condition brings many health problems, making the life expectancy of the sufferer to be greatly reduced. Therefore, it is necessary to know about the different COPD stages, as early detection could make the person to have more years added to what is remaining for him or her.
The COPD Stages Which Influence Life Expectancy
This is the stage where the person regularly experiences severe breathlessness, but his daily life will not be too affected. This is one of the COPD stages considered to be mild, as the lungs will still be functioning at over 50% of capacity. After carrying out a test using a spirometer, short-acting inhaled beta-agonists can be used to treat the condition.
At this stage, the lungs reduce in performance to about 35% of their normal capacity. It is therefore, the stage where the daily life of the individual starts being affected. It is where frequent breathlessness is experienced, and continues for long periods. However, it is still a stage where treatment can still be provided to bring good health through inhaled anticholinergics or bronchodilators.
The performance of the lungs drops to less than 35%, leading to a reduction in the quality of life. Severe breathlessness now affects the patient, and it is then considered to be severe; life-threatening in most cases. One or more bronchodilators are needed to treat severe COPD, and inhaled anticholinergics or inhaled glucocorticosteroids can still be used.
The COPD stages play important roles in the life expectancy of the sufferer. They determine the severity, which is measured with a test that determines how the airways are obstructed and the ability of the lungs in holding air and blowing it out. The measurements of the spirometry are given in FEV1/FVC ratios, with FEV1 being the “forced expiratory volume” per second, the largest air volume which can be breathed out during the first second of breathing. The FVC is the “forced vital capacity”, the largest air volume which can be exhaled in a whole large breath. The FEV1 that gives a reading above 80% is described as mild (Stage 1), moderate (Stage 2) being between 50% and 80%, and severe (Stage 3) being below 30%.
Category: COPD Stages