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COPD Stages, Prognosis and Life Expectancy: Here Are Your Numbers

COPD Stages, Prognosis and Life Expectancy: Here Are Your Numbers

With all of the numbers, facts and information you have to remember about chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), you may have many questions. One common question is, “how long can I live with COPD?” It’s an important one to ask, but many people understandably feel too worried or afraid to ask it. Because COPD and other chronic, progressive lung diseases affect everyone differently, there’s no way to accurately predict the life expectancy of people with COPD. However, researchers and doctors have come up with ways to estimate and measure life expectancy and prognosis by placing COPD into stages. The COPD stages, prognosis and life expectancy all work together to help doctors develop a COPD treatment plan for their patients. Here’s what you need to know about COPD stages, prognosis and life expectancy.

How are COPD Stages, Prognosis and Life Expectancy Determined?

Because COPD affects everyone differently and can range from mild to severe, your COPD stages, lung prognosis and life expectancy depend on many varying factors. COPD is a progressive condition, meaning it will worsen over time. Including emphysema and chronic bronchitis, COPD, the third leading cause of death in the United States, is a major obstructive lung disease that currently affects over 11 million people in the U.S. However, it’s estimated that 24 million may have COPD without even knowing it.

Your doctor is likely going to recommend that you have a pulmonary function test (PFT) to determine how well your lungs are working and how well your COPD treatment plan is working. With the pulmonary function test results, your doctor may use that information to aid in determining what stage your COPD is in. In combination with pulmonary function tests, the two most commonly used methods to measure the severity of COPD is through the GOLD System and the BODE Index.

Gold System and COPD Stages

One way to measure prognosis and life expectancy is through the GOLD System of staging, which places COPD into stages based on severity. The Global Initiative for Chronic Obstructive Lung Disease (GOLD) came up with the GOLD System. GOLD uses the forced expiratory volume (FEV1) test from your pulmonary function test to categorize the severity of COPD into stages. The forced expiratory volume (FEV1) shows the amount of air a person can forcefully exhale in one second. COPD has four total stages, and your airflow becomes more limited with each stage.

Here are your numbers and how the GOLD System breaks down the COPD Stages:

  • Stage 1: Very mild COPD with a FEV1 about 80 percent or more of normal.
  • Stage 2: Moderate COPD with a FEV1 between 50 and 80 percent of normal.
  • Stage 3: Severe emphysema with FEV1 between 30 and 50 percent of normal.
  • Stage 4: Very severe COPD with a lower FEV1 than Stage 3, or those with Stage 3 FEV1 and low blood oxygen levels

COPD Stages, Prognosis and Life Expectancy: Here Are Your Numbers

Simply put, as the COPD Stage numbers increase, the lung prognosis and life expectancy with COPD worsens.

BODE Index for COPD

Other scientists came up with the BODE Index to measure the severity of COPD. BODE stands for body mass, airflow obstruction, dyspnea and exercise capacity. The BODE Index accounts for how COPD affects your life.

  • Body Mass
  • Airflow Obstruction
  • Dyspnea
  • Exercise Capacity

The body mass index (BMI) helps determine if you’re overweight, obese or underweight. Airflow obstruction refers to your FEV1, which is similar to the GOLD system. Dyspnea means trouble breathing, and exercise capacity refers to exercise tolerance. Many people with COPD take a six-minute walk test—the distance you can walk in 6 minutes—to evaluate their level of exercise tolerance. These combined measurements make up the BODE Index and can be used to put COPD into stages or approximate life expectancy with COPD.

What do the numbers mean in COPD Stages, Prognosis and Life Expectancy?

Unfortunately, COPD worsens over time, and there is no known cure. However, there are treatment options available to help people breathe easier. Medications, oxygen therapy, diet, exercise, natural supplements and stem cell therapy are all COPD treatment options. In fact, many of our patients have seen improved pulmonary function, better quality of life and have reduced or come off of their oxygen therapy. Unlike traditional treatment options, stem cell therapy works to promote healing within the lungs and addresses the problem at its source. If you or a loved one have COPD, emphysema, chronic bronchitis or another chronic lung disease and would like to learn about your stem cell treatment options, contact us at (800) 729-3065.

46 Comments

  1. Lung Institute

    2 days ago

    John:

    We would love to talk with you or your brother about his COPD. Unfortunately, at this time, insurance companies don’t cover 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.

    Sincerely,

    The Lung Institute

  2. Lung Institute

    1 week ago

    Cassandra,

    Thank you for your comment. I am sorry to hear that your mother is having a difficult time. The best person/people to speak with about her specific condition would be the doctors who are currently treating her. They will have the best insight into the details of her current state. We wish her a quick recovery. Please don’t hesitate to reach out if there’s anything that we can help you with in the future.

    Thanks,

    Lung Institute

  3. Cassandra

    1 week ago

    My mother was admitted to hospital 4 days ago with shortness of breath. After serval diagnosis and And despite receiving oxegen her condition has worsened and she is now on ventaliator. My question is if there was never disgnosis of COPD and this was 1st sign of breathing issues can you immediatly go into respitary failure while in hospital and receiving oxygen

  4. Lung Institute

    2 weeks ago

    Jordan,

    Thank you for your comment. I am sorry to hear about your father’s diagnosis, and can imagine how scary that must be for you. The best place to get information about your father’s condition is his primary care physician. Please check with your father’s primary care physician for information on his condition.

    -Lung Institute

  5. Jordan Underhill

    3 weeks ago

    My dad just got diagnosed with COPd. And emphysema. He has a ct scan on friday bc he has a spot in his lung. Im a nervous wreck. Hes only 51. Can u please tell me his life expectancy. And what you think the spot on his lung is.

  6. John W. Martin

    1 month ago

    My Brother in Milpitas, California advised mE he has been diagnosed as having “COPD”, by his local kaiser.

    How would I best have him contact you, since His medical coverage is provided be kaiser perm ante, as is my own personal medical plan…??

  7. Phoebe

    3 months ago

    Hi Bethel,

    We’re happy to answer your questions about stem cell therapy for COPD. Our dedicated medical team has a wealth of knowledge about stem cells, treatment options, candidacy and more. So, feel free to contact us at (855) 313-1149 to speak one-on-one with someone from our medical team over our secure phone line. We look forward to hearing from you soon.

    Best Regards,

    The Lung Institute

  8. Bethel Essary

    3 months ago

    I have copd. Lots of mucus and lots of coughing. it makes me tired all the time. I would like to know more about stem cell. I am 71 years old and just thought I had allergies until my lung Dr said it was copd I quit smoking as soon as he told me 8/19/15. I gAined 30 lbs but I have lost 10 of it.

  9. Phoebe

    3 months ago

    Hi Debra,

    First and foremost, we’re sorry to hear about the challenges you have been facing with COPD and acute bronchospasm. Like you, many people with COPD spend extended periods of time in the hospital and have difficulty doing everyday things. Shortness of breath, coughing and wheezing are all very common symptoms, and often, doctors prescribe inhalers and other treatments to help manage symptoms. Currently, there isn’t a cure for COPD, and the condition is progressive, meaning it will worsen over time. However, treatment and staying on a treatment plan can help people manage their symptoms. You and your doctor will work together to develop and maintain the best treatment plan for you. In addition, some people have found relief after trying alternative treatments, like stem cell therapy. We’re happy to answer your questions about stem cell therapy, so feel free to contact us at (855) 313-1149 to speak with our medical team. We look forward to hearing from you soon.

    Best Regards,

    The Lung Institute

  10. Debra C Moore

    3 months ago

    I was diagnosed with Acute bronchospasm and copd aND spent 9 days in THE hospital last month. I’m back at work But am finding it difficult to do every day things. I am unable to do any physical things without wheezing, coughing and Shortness of breath. I’m on inhalers and nebulizers. WILL I be able to eventually live a normal life or will I continiest to feel this way

  11. Phoebe

    3 months ago

    Hi Chris,

    Treatment cost varies depending on treatment type. In order to best answer your question, we need to gather more private medical information from you over our secure phone line. Our team has a wealth of knowledge about stem cells, treatment, candidacy and cost. We’re happy to answer your questions. Feel free to give us at call at (855) 313-1149 to speak one-on-one with our dedicated medical team. We look forward to hearing from you soon.

    Best Regards,

    The Lung Institute

  12. Chris

    3 months ago

    What is the coSt of stem cEll TREATMENT?? Thanks. . I live in Nevada.

  13. Phoebe

    3 months ago

    Hi Dulecia,

    First and foremost, we’re sorry to hear about the challenges you have been facing with COPD. Like you, many people with COPD and chronic lung diseases have trouble with their mobility, working and doing daily tasks. People with COPD are at a higher risk of catching infections, so sometimes, they may be hospitalized and prescribed antibiotics. It’s very important to share how your much your symptoms affect your daily life with your doctor. Your doctor would want to know about these changes in your lung health. Also, it’s important to ask your doctor what he or she means anytime you feel confused. Because your doctor knows you and your health situation well, he or she will be able to best answer your questions.

    Kind Regards,

    The Lung Institute

  14. Dulecia Lunde

    3 months ago

    I was diagnosed in 2014. Since last November 2017 I have been in and out of hospital had lung infections and been prescribed antibiotics these past 7 months. I’m disabled and struggle to wheel myself and get chest pains. My lung function show decline but with every follow up my doctor saith I’m not better or getting worse. I’m confused as my independence of movement and working is a struggle.

  15. Phoebe

    4 months ago

    Dear Smita,

    First and foremost, we’re sorry to hear about the challenges your father has been facing with COPD. Like your father, many people with COPD need oxygen therapy to help them receive adequate oxygen. There are a variety of treatments available for people with COPD. Some of the possible treatment options include inhalers, medications, oxygen therapy, pulmonary rehabilitation and others. It’s best to talk about treatment options with your father’s doctor because his doctor knows your father’s health situation well. We’re happy to answer your questions about stem cell treatment for COPD, so feel free to contact us at (855) 313-1149.

    Best Regards,

    The Lung Institute

  16. smita

    4 months ago

    my father is a copd patient since one and half year bt since march 2016 he is on 24 hrs oxygen therapy his age is 73 is any treatment is there to extend lifeof lungs as well his life.

  17. Phoebe

    4 months ago

    Hi Mary,

    Stem cell treatment is still not covered by health insurance. While it may take some time before treatment is covered by insurance, we’re hopeful that it will be in the future. In the meantime, our medical staff is happy to answer your questions about stem cell treatment for COPD, so feel free to contact us at (855) 313-1149.

    Best Regards,

    The Lung Institute

  18. Mary

    4 months ago

    Has stem cell treatment been granted to where health insurance will pay for it now.

  19. Phoebe

    5 months ago

    Dear Kerry,

    Thanks for your comment. It’s important to talk with your doctor about any changes you see with your COPD symptoms, breathing and overall health. Your doctor may also be able to help you with your questions about disability. It’s good that you have quit smoking and stayed smoke-free. If you’re interested in learning more about stem cell treatment options, feel free to contact us at (855) 313-1149 to speak one-on-one with our medical staff. We look forward to hearing from you soon.

    Best Regards,

    The Lung Institute

  20. kerry sirois

    5 months ago

    I have COPD, I quit smoking about 8 years ago, about a year before I was diagnosed with COPD, I seldomly cough, very rarely spit up sputum, but I have trouble breathing on the job, which is rather physical, I’d like to get on disability, but it seems I don’t qualify and I’m afraid that my heart will burst one of these days with all the heavy breathing I do. I would just like to relax my last few years of life. I’m 64 years old.

  21. PB

    9 months ago

    Dear Shelley,

    Thanks for your comment and question. Because COPD and emphysema affect everyone differently and at different rates of progression, it’s challenging to say or know what life expectancy anyone has with it, so it’s important that your husband sees his doctor regularly, especially if he notices any changes to his symptoms. Quitting smoking is a very important part in any COPD and emphysema treatment plan. Like your husband, many people with COPD and emphysema cough up sputum, and it takes them a while to recover after tasks like mowing the lawn. If you and your husband are interested, you can check out our free smoking cessation guide by clicking here. We hope this is helpful for you both, and we wish you and your husband the best.

    Kind Regards,

    The Lung Institute

  22. Shelley

    9 months ago

    My husband has been diagnosed with copd emphysema.
    He is 44 the doctor Jas told him he needs to quit smoking but he won’t he gets up everyday coughing up sputum his doctor has told him he needs to quit and tried to help him but he won’t he mows the lawns and it takes him 2 days to recover what life expectancy is he looking at if he continues to smoke

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  27. PB

    11 months ago

    Dear Amy,

    We’re happy to answer any questions you have regarding stem cell treatment options. Stem cell therapy works to promote healing from within the lungs, and many of our patients have reported an improved quality of life and better breathing after treatment. You can hear more of their stories by clicking here. To best answer your questions and to discuss your options, feel free to contact us at (855) 313-1149 to speak one-on-one with a patient coordinator. We look forward to speaking with you soon.

    Kind Regards,

    The Lung Institute

  28. Amy Steinheiser

    11 months ago

    I would also like information on stem cell therapy can you have the therapy if you have had the lung reduction surgery?

  29. PB

    11 months ago

    Dear Amy,

    Thank you for your comment and for sharing some of your story with us. We’re glad to hear that you are feeling better and breathing better after your treatment at the Cleveland Clinic. We wish you the best.

    Kind Regards,

    The Lung Institute

  30. Amy Steinheiser

    11 months ago

    Hi I’m Amy I’m 47years old and 3 months ago I had lung volume reduction surgery I have severe cops I was diagnosed at age 40. The surgery itself was rough but I am so happy I did it I feel so much better and can finally breathe I would like any information from others that have had the same surgery.
    I was so blessed to have wonderful doctors at Cleveland clinic that did my surgery and took such good care of me!! #newleaseonlife

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  34. PB

    12 months ago

    Dear Mina,

    There are a variety of treatments–both traditional and natural–available for people with COPD. Remember to discuss your questions and concerns with your doctor before changing or modifying your current treatment plan. Treatment cost varies depending on treatment type, so it’s best to contact us at (855) 313-1149 to learn more about stem cells, candidacy, treatment options and cost. We look forward to hearing from you soon.

    Kind Regards,

    The Lung Institute

  35. PB

    12 months ago

    Dear Betty,

    Thanks for your comment. The Lung Institute has helped patients in a variety of COPD stages, including stage 3 COPD. For many patients, treatment has helped them feel better and improved their quality of life. We’re happy to answer your questions regarding stem cell treatment options, candidacy and cost, so feel free to contact us at (855) 313-1149 to speak one-on-one with a patient coordinator. We look forward to speaking with you soon.

    Kind Regards,

    The Lung Institute

  36. PB

    12 months ago

    Dear Emma,

    Thanks for your comment. While there are herbs, breathing techniques and other natural remedies to help ease COPD symptoms, there is no cure for COPD. It’s important to discuss any changes in your COPD symptoms as well as any alternative remedies you might be considering with your doctor before changing your current treatment plan. You can read more about herbs that help COPD by clicking here. We’re happy to answer your questions regarding stem cell treatment options, so feel free to contact us at (855) 313-1149. We look forward to hearing from you soon.

    Best Regards,

    The Lung Institute

  37. Mina

    12 months ago

    Why the medicine is expensive. I am prefer to prepare my natural medicine less money.

  38. Emma tedder

    12 months ago

    I can’t afford stem cell therapy for my severe copd and am very bad at raising money. There has to be another way such as an herb or combination of herbs that can heal the alveoli, stop the mucous issue, and restore breathing capacity.

  39. betty young

    12 months ago

    I’m Betty Young of Cleveland , TN I got the end of stag 3 copd and emphazemia can this treatment help me and I have a & b insurance Medicaid only I’m 60

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  41. PB

    1 year ago

    Dear Athena,

    First and foremost, we’re sorry to hear about the breathing issues your partner has been dealing with because of COPD and emphysema. This is an excellent question, but one that is very difficult for us to answer because we’re not your partner’s doctor and don’t know his complete medical history. Deciding what stage your partner is in comes from more than one system of measurement, such as the GOLD System and the BODE Index. Your partner’s doctor will likely want him to have a pulmonary function test, which can be used to help determine what stage of COPD he is in. So, we recommend that you and your partner talk with your partner’s doctor. We wish you both the best.

    Kind Regards,

    The Lung Institute

  42. Athena

    1 year ago

    My partner has copd and empyhesema he is 36 and got diagnosed 3 years ago he also has bullos diease he has gone into respiratory failure three times he has been told he will have to go on the lung transplant list can u tell me what stage he has

  43. PB

    1 year ago

    Dear Teena,

    Thanks for your comment. We’re sorry to hear that COPD has been giving you such a hard time breathing. Like you, many people with COPD use supplemental oxygen at night and sometimes throughout the day to make sure they are receiving enough oxygen. We have written a variety of articles about oxygen, how it affects the body and ways to improve oxygen levels. You can check them out by clicking here. We hope this is helpful for you, and we wish you the best.

    Kind Regards,

    The Lung Institute

  44. TEENA CRAFT

    1 year ago

    I have COPD I use oxygen at night sometime through the day.they say it’s moderate but it get’s very hard to breath some day’s are like it’s my last.I am applying for SSD but don’t know if they will allow.

  45. PB

    1 year ago

    Dear Kathy,

    Thanks for your questions. Because stem cell transplant and stem cell therapy are two different forms of treatment, doctors use them to treat different diseases. You can read more about stem cell transplant and stem cell therapy by clicking here.

    Best Regards,

    The Lung Institute

  46. kathy field

    1 year ago

    If stem cell therapy works, then why are doctors not doing it? Why are they still doing transplants if there is something better?

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* All treatments performed at Lung Institute utilize autologous stem cells, meaning those derived from a patient's own body. No fetal or embryonic stem cells are utilized in Lung Institute's procedures. Lung Institute aims to improve patients' quality of life and help them breathe easier through the use of autologous stem cell therapy. To learn more about how stem cells work for lung disease, click here.

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