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Lung Prognosis with COPD

18 Jul 2016
| Under COPD, Disease Education, Lung Disease | Posted by | 4 Comments
Lung Prognosis with COPD

If you or a loved one has been diagnosed with a chronic lung disease, such as chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), then you probably have lots of questions. Because COPD and other chronic lung diseases are chronic and progressive, the disease will worsen over time. However, finding the right treatment plan for you is essential to having a good quality of life. Here’s what you need to know about lung prognosis with COPD so that you can stay proactive in your healthcare.

How many people have COPD?

Approximately 12 million people in the United States have a diagnosis of COPD. However, it’s estimated that 24 million people may have the disease without knowing it. At this time, COPD is the third leading cause of death. While there’s no cure for COPD, treatment options are available.

What is COPD?

Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease is characterized by the restriction of airflow into and out of the lungs, making breathing difficult. Many people with COPD have trouble walking short distances and are susceptible to illnesses such as pneumonia. The term COPD also encompasses emphysema and chronic bronchitis. The causes of COPD include smoking, having the alpha-1 antitrypsin deficiency and long-term exposure to inhaled pollutants. The severity of symptoms range from mild to severe and include shortness of breath, coughing, wheezing, recurrent infections and more.

What is my lung prognosis with COPD?

Lung Prognosis with COPD

Unfortunately, your lung prognosis with COPD depends on many varying factors. Because chronic lung diseases affect everyone differently and can range from mild to severe, it’s impossible to know exactly what the life expectancy is for someone with COPD. However researchers have tried to come up with a general way to measure life expectancy for people with COPD. One measurement is called the GOLD System, and one method used is called staging.

GOLD System and Staging

Staging is a way to measure the severity of COPD. The Global Initiative for Chronic Obstructive Lung Disease (GOLD) came up with the GOLD System. GOLD uses the forced expiratory volume (FEV1) test—the amount of air a person can forcefully exhale in one second—to categorize the severity of COPD into 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.

Generally speaking, as the stage numbers get higher, the lung prognosis with COPD worsens.

BODE Index

Other scientists believe there are other ways to measure the severity of COPD. These scientists came up with the BODE Index. BODE stands for body mass, airflow obstruction, dyspnea and exercise capacity. The BODE Index takes into account how COPD affects your life.

The body mass index (BMI) is used to determine if you’re underweight, overweight or obese. Airflow obstruction refers to your FEV1, which is similar to the GOLD system. Dyspnea simply means trouble breathing, so measuring dyspnea can help determine lung prognosis with COPD. Exercise capacity refers to exercise tolerance. Many people with COPD take a six minute walk test to evaluate their level of exercise tolerance. Combined, these measurements make up the BODE Index and can be used to determine lung prognosis or an approximate life expectancy.

What can you do to regain your quality of life?

Lung Prognosis with COPD

While COPD is a chronic, progressive disease with no known cure, there are things you can do to breathe better, improve your lung function and promote healing. It’s important to see your doctor regularly even if you’re feeling well. Discuss your questions and concerns with your doctor. You and your physician can develop a treatment plan that works best for you. Your doctor may recommend pulmonary rehabilitation, medications, supplemental oxygen, gentle exercises, tips to improve your blood oxygen levels and even diet modifications. Your doctor will likely monitor your lung prognosis with COPD from time to time.

Many people have found alternative treatments, such as stem cell therapy, helpful. The Lung Institute uses stem cells derived from the patient’s body. They extract stem cells from a patient’s blood or bone marrow, isolate the cells and return them to the patient intravenously. Many patients have noticed improved pulmonary function test (PFT) results, better quality of life and have come off their supplemental oxygen after treatment. If you or a loved one has COPD or another chronic lung disease and would like to learn more about stem cell treatment options, contact us at (800) 729-3065.


  1. Lung Institute

    4 weeks ago


    First, our treatments have worked for people at all stages of lung disease. It just needs to be understood that this is not a cure but an attempt to slow the progression of the disease.

    Unfortunately, insurances companies don’t cover this treatment. Keep in mind that it will take some time before the insurance companies see a financial benefit in their favor to decide to cover it. However, we are hopeful for this change in the near future. 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.


    The Lung Institute

  2. Laurie

    4 weeks ago

    Is stem cell therapy covered by insurance?

    Has it been pRoven to be beneficial in all stages, or Just the early stages?

  3. PB

    2 years ago

    Dear Gary,

    Thank you for your question. Treatment cost varies depending on treatment type, so it’s best to discuss stem cell treatment options with us one-on-one over the phone. Our patient coordinators have a wealth of knowledge regarding stem cells, treatment options, candidacy and cost, and they can answer your questions in more detail. Please feel free to contact us at (855) 313-1149, and we look forward to speaking with you soon.

    Best Regards,

    The Lung Institute

  4. gary

    2 years ago


* 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.

All claims made regarding the efficacy of Lung Institute's treatments as they pertain to pulmonary conditions are based solely on anecdotal support collected by Lung Institute. Individual conditions, treatment and outcomes may vary and are not necessarily indicative of future results. Testimonial participation is voluntary. Lung Institute does not pay for or script patient testimonials.

Under current FDA guidelines and regulations 1271.10 and 1271.15, the Lung Institute complies with all necessary requirements for operation. The Lung Institute is firmly in accordance with the conditions set by the FDA for exemption status and conducts itself in full accordance with current guidelines. Any individual who accesses Lung Institute's website for information is encouraged to speak with his or her primary physician for treatment suggestions and conclusive evidence. All information on this site should be used for educational and informational use only.

As required by Texas state law, the Lung Institute Dallas Clinic has received Institutional Review Board (IRB) approval from MaGil IRB, now Chesapeake IRB, which is fully accredited by the Association for the Accreditation of Human Research Protection Program (AAHRPP), for research protocols and stem cell procedures. The Lung Institute has implemented these IRB approved standards at all of its clinics nationwide. Approval indicates that we follow rigorous standards for ethics, quality, and protections for human research.