Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) is a serious and progressive lung condition. This condition slowly makes it harder for you to breathe, and it can have a huge effect on your overall life expectancy. However, you might be asking yourself several questions related to the progress and life expectancy effects of COPD.
How Is the Progress of COPD Tracked?
There are several ways that the progression of COPD is tracked, but the stages laid out by the Global Initiative for Chronic Obstructive Lung Disease (GOLD) are one of the most commonly used tracking tools. One article explains that patients are placed in the GOLD stages based on how high or low a person’s forced expiratory volume in 1 second (FEV1) is. The GOLD stages are:
- Stage 1: FEV1 of 80% predicted or more
- Stage 2: FEV1 of 50% to 79% predicted
- Stage 3: FEV1 of 30% to 49% predicted
- Stage 4: FEV1 of less than 30% predicted
What Other Components Help Determine COPD Progression?
A second component within the GOLD system places patients in groups depending on how serious their symptoms are and how many yearly symptom flare-ups they have that require hospitalization. These groups are labeled as A, B, C and D, and they are combined with the appropriate stage to give an overall picture of the patient’s condition. Patients are placed in a specific group based on the following criteria:
- Group A: few symptoms and no flare-ups of symptoms in the past year
- Group B: more symptoms and 1 flare-up in the past year that didn’t require hospitalization
- Group C: moderate symptoms and hospitalized for at least 1 flare-up in the past year
- Group D: severe symptoms and hospitalized for at least 2 flare-ups in the past year
What Effects Does COPD Have on a Patient’s Life Expectancy?
In general, people with COPD fall into 3 categories: current smokers, former smokers and nonsmokers. A study published by the National Institutes of Health (NIH) reveals some statistics that show how COPD can affect the life expectancy for people in each group. According to this study, a patient who currently smokes and is in Stage 4 of COPD can expect to live about 6 years less than the average adult. The study also reports that former smokers with Stage 4 COPD can expect to live 5.6 years less than average. It also shows that COPD affects the life expectancy of nonsmokers the least, and it claims that nonsmokers with COPD tend to have a life expectancy of only 1.3 years less than the average.
Are There Ways to Slow the Progression of COPD?
At Lung Health Institute, our health care team is committed to helping patients treat their COPD symptoms and slow the progression of chronic lung diseases.
To help accomplish this goal, we’ve created a minimally invasive treatment option called cellular therapy. When patients receive cellular therapy, a small sample of the patient’s own blood is taken. The sample is then taken to our on-site labs, and platelets, proteins, growth factors and other beneficial cells are separated and concentrated from the sample.
The concentrated cells are then returned into the bloodstream, and they’re pumped through the heart and into the lungs. Once in the lungs, they may promote the repair of damaged tissue and reduce inflammation. Not only can this help patients Breathe Easier™ and improve their quality of life, but cellular therapy is also designed to slow or even halt the progression of COPD.
Take the next step to Breathe Easier. Contact one of our patient coordinators today for more information or to schedule a free consultation.