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BODE Index and COPD: Determining Your Stage of COPD

15 Sep 2016
| Under COPD, Medical | Posted by | 11 Comments
BODE Index and COPD: Determining Your Stage of COPD

If you have chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), you have probably heard about the COPD stages, which range from mild to very severe. In fact, you may have had certain types of tests or procedures to help your doctor gain valuable measurements and information about your COPD. These tests and measurements help your doctor determine your COPD stage and severity. One way to measure COPD is with the BODE Index, which takes into account how COPD affects your life. Here’s the information you need to know about the BODE Index and COPD.

What kinds of tests help doctors determine your COPD stage?

To better understand how the BODE Index and COPD works, it’s important to understand the other tests and measurements used alongside the BODE Index. These lung function tests include:

  • Pulmonary Function Test (PFT) – In a PFT, the amount of air you breathe in and out will be measured. Spirometry and plethysmography are part of PFTs.
  • Spirometry – Part of a PFT, spirometry uses a device called a spirometer hooked up to a small electronic machine, measuring how much and how quickly you inhale and exhale.
  • Body Plethysmography – For this test, you sit inside a small airtight room called a plethysmograph booth and breathe through a mouthpiece. Total lung capacity and residual volume will be measured.
  • 6 Minute Walk Test – This test measures the distance a patient can walk on a flat, hard surface in 6 minutes. During the test, spirometry, oxygen saturation and other measurements may be taken as well.
  • Gas Diffusion Tests – The arterial blood gas test measures the amount of oxygen and carbon dioxide in your bloodstream. The carbon monoxide diffusion capacity measures how well a gas is able to move from your lungs into your body.

BODE Index and COPD

BODE Index and COPD: Determining Your Stage of COPD

Simply put, the BODE Index is a way for doctors and researchers to place COPD into stages. Another way to determine the stage of COPD is with the GOLD System, which ranks the severity of COPD based on forced expiratory volume (FEV1), or the maximum amount of air you can forcefully blow out of your lungs in once second. The FEV1 result is gathered from a pulmonary function test.

The difference between these two common ways to stage COPD is that the BODE Index accounts for how COPD affects your life. Here’s what the BODE Index stands for: body mass, airflow obstruction, dyspnea and exercise capacity.

BODE Index:

  • Body Mass
  • Airflow Obstruction
  • Dyspnea
  • Exercise Capacity

Body mass index (BMI) helps determine if you’re overweight, obese or underweight. Because COPD can cause trouble with weight management and nutrition, knowing your BMI will help your doctor develop a treatment plan. Airflow obstruction refers to your FEV1 score and other pulmonary function test results. Dyspnea means trouble breathing, and it shows your doctor how much shortness of breath affects your life. The 6-minute walk test indicates how much exercise tolerance and exercise capacity you have. These combined measurements make up the BODE Index, helping your doctor understand the severity of your COPD, how it affects your life and what stage of COPD you are in.

How do I calculate my BODE Index?

You can make an estimated calculation for your BODE Index for COPD life expectancy with a BODE Index calculator. Here’s what you’ll need before you enter information into the calculator:

  1. FEV1 percentage predicated after using a bronchodilator to open airways from your PFT
  2. Your 6-minute walk test distance
  3. Body mass index
  4. Level of dyspnea or difficulty breathing.

After you enter the information, an approximate survival prediction will show. Of course, it’s important to remember that this is a tool to help estimate life expectancy, and you need to discuss your BODE Index and COPD with your doctor.

What can I do to improve my COPD symptoms and overall quality of life?

BODE Index and COPD: Determining Your Stage of COPD

Along with seeing your doctor regularly and developing the best treatment plan for you with your doctor, alternative treatments may be beneficial. When it comes to learning your COPD stage or about your BODE Index and COPD, you may feel worried or afraid. Remember to share how you feel with your doctor. Many of our patients have seen improvements in their overall quality of life and are able to breathe easier after stem cell treatment. Because stem cell therapy promotes healing from within, it has helped many people feel better and get back to their favorite activities. If you or someone you love has COPD, emphysema, chronic bronchitis or another chronic lung disease, contact us at (800) 729-3065 to learn more about your options.

11 Comments

  1. Pingback: COPD Treatment Guidelines | Lung Institute

  2. PB

    2 months ago

    Dear Dianna,

    Thanks for your comment and for sharing some of your story with us. Like you, many people with COPD have difficulty with fatigue and keeping their oxygen levels up. Many people also find it challenging to do the things they love. While there is not a cure for COPD, there are treatment options available to help people manage their COPD symptoms, such as medications, inhalers and oxygen therapy. There are also alternative treatments, such as stem cell therapy, which works to promote healing from within the lungs.

    Unfortunately, at this time, insurance companies and Medicare don’t cover stem cell treatment. However, we’re hopeful that treatment will be covered by insurance companies in the near future. Keep in mind that it will take some time before the insurance companies see a financial benefit in their favor and then decide to cover it. In the meantime, you can learn more about stem cell treatment options and have your questions answered by one of our patient coordinators. Feel free to contact us at (855) 313-1149 for more information. We look forward to hearing from you soon.

    Kind Regards,

    The Lung Institute

  3. dianna johnson

    2 months ago

    you play ,you pay, i get that….now i have COPD which stage i wasn’t told, but my oxygen level dips fast when i take the thing a ma jig off….and my heart rate increases… i use a finger tester to check the levels…but i am tired all the time, can’t do anything i love anymore…not sure i want to hear when my life may end, i am scared… smoked too many years, now, i am so weak from lack of activity….i need therapy, , am on medicare n medicaid…will it cover anything i need , stem cell,etc..thanks for listening..

  4. PB

    2 months ago

    Dear JoAnne,

    Thanks for your comment and question. We recommend talking with your primary care doctor and your pulmonologist about COPD, allergic bronchitis and lung function testing. Because a pulmonologist specializes in lungs and pulmonary care, a pulmonologist will be able to answer your questions more thoroughly. You could ask your primary care doctor for his or her recommendation of a pulmonologist in your area, and you can discuss your concerns with your primary care doctor as well. We hope this information is helpful for you, and we wish you the best.

    Kind Regards,

    The Lung Institute

  5. JoAnne

    2 months ago

    I might have the beginning stage of COPD (shortness of breath). Was on an inhaler for a while 1-1/2 yrs ago, got better but now shortness of breath is back. My heart doctor indicated recently that I might have allergenic bronchitis. Is there such a condition?

  6. PB

    2 months ago

    Dear Arsenio,

    Thanks for your question. Unfortunately, at this time, insurance companies and Medicare don’t cover treatment. However, we’re hopeful that treatment will be covered by insurance companies and Medicare in the near future. Keep in mind that it will take some time before the insurance companies see a financial benefit in their favor and then decide to cover it. In the meantime, you can learn more about stem cell treatment options and have your questions answered by one of our patient coordinators. Feel free to contact us at (855) 313-1149 for more information. We look forward to hearing from you soon.

    Best Regards,

    The Lung Institute

  7. PB

    2 months ago

    Dear Chris,

    Thanks for your question. Stem cell treatment for COPD works to promote healing within the lungs. Because COPD is a chronic, progressive disease, it will worsen over time even with treatment (both traditional and alternative). While treatment cannot reverse the effects of COPD, it can help people breathe easier. In fact, many of our patients have seen improved quality of life after treatment and are able to lead a more active life. We’re happy to answer your questions regarding stem cell treatment, so feel free to contact us at (855) 313-1149 to speak one-on-one with a patient coordinator. We look forward to hearing from you soon.

    Kind Regards,

    The Lung Institute

  8. PB

    2 months ago

    Dear William,

    Thanks for sharing some of your story with us. Like you, many people with chronic lung diseases take medications to help them breathe better and are under the care of many doctors. We’re happy to answer any questions you have regarding stem cell treatment for chronic lung diseases, such as chronic bronchitis. Feel free to contact us at (855) 313-1149 to speak one-on-one with a patient coordinator. We look forward to hearing from you soon.

    Kind Regards,

    The Lung Institute

  9. Chris Shows

    3 months ago

    Can stem cell treatment reverse the effects of COPD?

  10. Arsenio

    3 months ago

    Is stem cell treatment covered by Medicare?

  11. William Mihalo

    3 months ago

    i have been under the care of doctors at the U of Chicago Medical clinics with X-rays,test etc. Diagnosis Chronic Bronchitis,low blood oxygen. 2-puffs aday Spiriva HandiHaler.

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