The official blog of the Lung Institute.
Diving Into The Many COPD Stages
The coughing, wheezing and shortness of breath have landed you a one way trip to the doctor’s office. After spending hours searching online for your symptoms, you believe that you might have COPD. Believe it or not, diagnosing chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) is a pretty simple process. You visit a doctor and a test is given using a medical device known as a spirometer, which is used to measure how much lung function a person has. The results? Exactly what you had expected. But this makes you wonder, what is the difference between COPD Stages?
COPD: Stage by Stage
So the verdict of COPD has been given, but there are many more stages in COPD. The method in which doctors and researchers have developed to measure the progression of COPD is known as the GOLD System. The Global Initiative for Chronic Obstructive Lung Disease developed a measurement system that tracks COPD by stages. Currently there are 4 stages of COPD, each with its own description. Here is each stage broken down for you:
- Stage 1 – This is when COPD is very mild causing very little airflow limitation. Patients might not even be aware that they have COPD at this point.
- Stage 2 – COPD is present throughout most of the lungs and is causing progressive airflow limitation moderately. This is the stage that post people seek help for symptoms of coughing, wheezing and shortness of breath.
- Stage 3 – This the severe stage of COPD. A patient will experience a decrease in quality of life and common COPD symptoms will multiply.
- Stage 4 – Known as the end-stage, COPD has progressed to the point that oxygen support is needed, lung function has almost depleted and flare-ups can become life threatening.
If you’re noticing any of the symptoms above or dealing with constant shortness of breath, talk to your doctor or pulmonologist. The sooner someone is diagnosed; the sooner a treatment plan can be established. Unfortunately, there is no cure for COPD, since it’s a progressive and often terminal disease. Though it may seem grim to think about the future when factoring in a chronic lung disease, remember there’s hope.
COPD Treatment Options
Some people dealing with COPD have found relief in the form of stem cell therapy. Here at the Lung Institute, we’re helping those with COPD regain a higher quality of life with a variety of treatment options. If you’d like to learn more, please contact us or call (800) 729-3065.