The official blog of the Lung Institute.

The Role of COPD and Death

18 Nov 2014
| Under COPD, Lifestyle, Lung Disease | Posted by | 2 Comments
The Role of COPD and Death Lung Institute

Talking About the Final Stage of COPD

November is National COPD Awareness Month and all month long we have been talking about a number of articles discussing the effects of COPD. With such a chronic lung disease, there is a darker side to the condition that does have to be discussed. COPD has no cure and many sufferers will ultimately succumb to the effects of this disease. Let’s go ahead and clear the air though, when talking about the role of COPD, there is the unfortunate fact that death will occur at some point in the span of the patient’s condition. Leaving behind an impact that effects friends and family alike, this is the role of COPD and death.

Is There A Life Expectancy With COPD?

There is no quick answer or rule when diagnosing the life expectancy of COPD. Having such a severe and progressive lung disease will shorten your lifespan, but this depends on a number of variables, like the overall health of a person. One method that doctors and researchers have developed for measuring life expectancy is with the GOLD System. The Global Initiative for Chronic Obstructive Lung Disease developed a measurement system that helps track the progression of COPD by stages. Here are the stages:

  • Stage 1 – very mild COPD
  • Stage 2 – moderate COPD
  • Stage 3 – severe emphysema/chronic bronchitis
  • Stage 4 – very severe COPD

Understanding the End Stage of COPD

Known as the end-stage, Stage 4 COPD is the progression of the disease to the point that oxygen support is constantly needed. Lung function has almost completely depleted and frequent flare-ups can become life threatening. Coughing, shortness of breath and constant wheezing become a daily ritual and almost always reduce a person’s energy. This final step of COPD is usually the last that a patient may experience.

Many people who are faced with the knowledge that they have end-stage lung disease are told that their only option is lung transplantation. The thought of a lung transplant can make many unsure if it will even happen, but this usually the last chance patients have while dealing with COPD.  Another option that few know about is cellular therapy, which uses cells to promote the healing of lung tissue.

Of course, by avoiding smoke and other lung irritants like pollution and chemicals, pulmonary rehabilitation classes can help you navigate your way through the effects of end-stage COPD. Also, learning to be prepared for emergencies can limit a dangerous COPD flare-ups. If you follow the right treatment plan and are aware of the signs, COPD Stage 4 can be managed.

Of course, if you are looking for an alternative treatment for COPD, then the Lung Institute might be able to help! If you or someone you love would like know more about treatment options, feel free to contact one of our patient care coordinators today or call (800) 729-3065 today.


  1. Diane K Zastrow

    3 years ago

    my thyroid just started acted up last year so I’ve been on medication for that and I do exercise walk. I am in really good health and shape I did gain some pounds with my thyroid acting up but I’m trying to work it all. I do go to the gym.please help

  2. Diane K Zastrow

    3 years ago

    I just got out of the doctors office and he told me I had COPD.I have had trouble breathing so he sent me to a specialist pulmonary about a month ago and he said I have chronic bronchitis and put me on an inhaler which seems to work. I had trouble breathing so he sent me to a nose throat and ear specialist and he sent me for a sleep apnea which I have. and I also have a thyroid problem my whole life I’ve been healthy now all the sudden when I turn 65 last year and 66 this year all this stuff is arising and I don’t understand. I quit smoking many many many years ago but I didn’t smoke hardly at all I smoked socially. unfortunately I live in my car so I can’t do the breathing machine the CCAP. that ear nose and throat specialist for my sleep apnea I have no place to plug it in and I do have my Medicare HMO and my medical because I don’t make much money that’s why I have to live in my car but today he scared me because I don’t want to die and the the doctor ears nose throat scared me he said if I don’t use the machine I will have a heart attack or I will die so he scared me and I can’t use it cuz I live in my car so what am I supposed to do please please help me

All claims made regarding the efficacy of Lung Institute's treatments as they pertain to pulmonary conditions are based solely on anecdotal support collected by Lung Institute. Individual conditions, treatment and outcomes may vary and are not necessarily indicative of future results. Testimonial participation is voluntary. Lung Institute does not pay for or script patient testimonials.

As required by Texas state law, the Lung Institute Dallas Clinic has received Institutional Review Board (IRB) approval from MaGil IRB, now Chesapeake IRB, which is fully accredited by the Association for the Accreditation of Human Research Protection Program (AAHRPP), for research protocols and procedures. The Lung Institute has implemented these IRB approved standards at all of its clinics nationwide. Approval indicates that we follow rigorous standards for ethics, quality, and protections for human research.