The official blog of the Lung Institute.
There are currently 24 million Americans living with a severe and deadly condition. The nature of this disease causes the lungs to deteriorate and makes every breath an effort. As the years progress, the condition ultimately takes its final toll upon its sufferer. This is the nature of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, more commonly known as COPD.
COPD encompasses two very different conditions known as emphysema and chronic bronchitis, but both conditions are characterized by a restriction of airflow into and out of the lungs that makes breathing difficult. To this day, there is no cure for COPD. Treatment is available to help stop the progression, but that is pretty much it. While many patients with COPD know there is no cure for the disease, many people will ask the very same question: how long do I have? Let’s talk about the life expectancy with COPD.
The Facts: How Long Do Most People Have?
Let’s go ahead and clear the air, shall we? When talking about the progression of COPD, there is the unfortunate fact that death will occur at some point in the span of the patient’s condition. This post is meant to highlight an all too common question asked by patients: What is my life expectancy with COPD?
There is no simple answer or rule when estimating the life expectancy of someone suffering from COPD. Having such a severe and progressive lung disease will shorten your lifespan, but this depends on a number of variables, like the overall health of a person, the other medical conditions they have developed and their lifestyle and habits. One method that doctors and researchers have developed for measuring life expectancy is with the GOLD System. The Global Initiative for Chronic Obstructive Lung Disease developed a measurement system that helps track the progression of COPD by stages. Here are the stages:
- Stage 1 – very mild COPD
- Stage 2 – moderate COPD
- Stage 3 – severe emphysema/chronic bronchitis
- Stage 4 – very severe COPD
Each stage has a different impact on each sufferer, but the general idea is the higher the stage of COPD, the shorter the life expectancy. Another system that doctor’s use to measure life expectancy with COPD is with the BODE Index. This system of measurement keeps track of your body mass index, airflow obstruction, dyspnea (trouble breathing) and a person’s exercise capacity. Here is a calculator that can demonstrate the BODE Index.
According to one study, scientists found that people with COPD had a much increased chance of mortality than those who do not suffer from the disease. Using the GOLD System, researchers kept track for years of patients with COPD. The results also found that current or ongoing smokers have a shorter life expectancy than patients that quit.
What Can I Do to Treat COPD?
The Lung Institute also offers an alternative COPD treatment through autologous stem cell therapy or stem cell therapy from cells from the patient’s own body. Highly trained Lung Institute medical professionals extract the patient’s stem cells from blood or bone marrow tissue. Then, they separate the cells and return them to the patient intravenously. Once in circulation, the stem cells can begin to promote the healing of lung tissue, which can potentially improve lung function.
In a recent stem cell research study, 82 percent of patients reported an increase in quality of life after stem cell therapy. Also, of the patients that reported results from a pulmonary function test (PFT), 60 percent reported in results that showed improvement in lung function after treatment.;
Where can I learn more about COPD treatment options at the Lung Institute?
With clinics nationwide, the Lung Institute will likely have a clinic near you. We are happy to answer your questions and discuss stem cell treatment options with you today. For more information about COPD treatment options at the Lung Institute, feel free to contact us at (800) 729-3065.