The official blog of the Lung Institute.
Diving Into the Many Levels of COPD
It starts out with coughing, wheezing and shortness of breath, which makes staying on the couch sound like your best bet. Perhaps, you put it off for a while, then it’s time to visit the doctor’s office to see what’s wrong. After running some tests, your doctor informs you that you’ve been diagnosed with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD). A COPD diagnosis usually comes with an attached number or stage, but how many stages are there in COPD?
Stage by Stage
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 four stages of COPD, each with its own description. It’s important to understand the basics of each stage, so here we have broken down each stage for you:
- Stage 1 – Often known as “mild COPD,” this stage causes slight airflow limitation. Patients might not even be aware they have COPD at this point.
- Stage 2 – COPD is present throughout most of the lungs and is causing progressive and moderate airflow limitation. During this stage, most people seek help for symptoms of coughing, wheezing and shortness of breath.
- Stage 3 – This is the severe stage of COPD. A patient could experience a decrease in quality of life and common COPD symptoms will likely worsen.
- Stage 4 – Known as the end-stage, COPD has progressed to the point that oxygen support could be needed, lung function could deteriorate and flare-ups could become life threatening.
COPD is a serious disease that can affect a person’s life in many ways. Since the disease is progressive and there is no cure available, signs and symptoms can impact the overall quality of life. If you have trouble breathing or have questions about COPD, discuss your questions or concerns with your doctor or pulmonologist and ask for more information.
Despite the burden a COPD diagnosis brings, there is hope. The Lung Institute specializes in stem cell therapy for COPD patients and patients with chronic lung diseases. If you or someone you know has COPD, contact one of our patient coordinators today by calling (800) 729-3065 to learn more about how your quality of life could improve with stem cell therapy.