Emphysema is a form of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) that causes shortness of breath. Emphysema damages the air sacs in your lungs with inflammation that builds up scar tissue. This scar tissue keeps your air sacs from working properly, and it cannot be reversed.
Emphysema is an incurable disease. Treatments can help manage its symptoms and slow its progression, but they cannot completely cure it. Since emphysema cannot be cured, many people who have it wonder about their life expectancy with the disease.
Is emphysema fatal?
Emphysema in its advanced stages can lead to potentially fatal conditions such as heart failure or respiratory failure.
Determining the life expectancy of someone with emphysema is challenging because many factors need to be considered, including:
- Smoking history
- Medical history
- Working environment
- Living environment
- Genetics and more
Measuring the severity of emphysema
When determining your prognosis, your physician will review the severity of your symptoms and measure the output of your lungs using the Global Initiative for Chronic Obstructive Lung Disease (GOLD) system.
This system categorizes lung function in one of four stages:
- Stage 1: Lung function of 80 percent or more
- Stage 2: Lung function of 50 to 79 percent
- Stage 3: Lung function of 30 to 49 percent
- Stage 4: Lung function of less than 30 percent
People with emphysema in later stages that has severely reduced your lung function generally have a lower life expectancy. However, one more factor that can affect your life expectancy with emphysema is medical treatment.
Treating COPD at the Lung Health Institute
Your life expectancy can improve if you follow your physician’s instructions for treating emphysema. You should also explore other options that can help, too, such as lung restoration treatment™ from the Lung Health Institute.
This treatment is a type of cellular therapy that uses healthy cells from your own body to help heal damaged tissue in the lungs. This procedure has helped more than 85 percent of our patients Breathe Easier™.
Contact us today to learn more about this treatment and how it can help you if you have emphysema or another chronic lung disease.