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What Does It Mean When You Have End-Stage Lung Disease?

5 Jun 2017
| Under Lung Disease | Posted by | 23 Comments
What Does It Mean When You Have End-Stage Lung Disease?

Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), emphysema and chronic bronchitis are types of chronic lung diseases. Doctors often place chronic lung disease into stages. Categorizing chronic lung disease in stages helps doctors understand the severity of symptoms. There are four total stages of chronic lung diseases. The stages range from stage 1 or mild stage to very severe or end-stage lung disease.

Lung disease affects people differently and at varying rates of progression. For some people, lung disease progresses rapidly, and for others, it progresses slowly over time.

It’s normal to feel anxious or worried if your doctor tells you that you have end-stage lung disease. However, it’s important to understand what your doctor means as well. In this post, we’ll breakdown what it means when you have end-stage lung disease.

What are the Stages of Lung Disease?

As we stated earlier, there are four total stages of lung disease. As lung disease progresses, the stage will increase to reflect the severity of your symptoms. The Global Initiative for Chronic Obstructive Lung Disease (GOLD) developed a staging system.

In the GOLD system, the forced expiratory volume in one second (FEV1) measurement from a pulmonary function test (PFT) helps doctors categorize chronic lung disease.

FEV1 means the amount of air you can forcefully exhale in one second. As the lung disease progresses, people have more difficulty forcefully exhaling air because of airflow limitations.

Stages of Chronic Lung Disease:

  • Mild or stage 1 with a FEV1 about 80 percent or more of normal
  • Moderate or stage 2 with a FEV1 between 50 and 80 percent of normal
  • Severe or stage 3 with a FEV1 between 30 and 50 percent of normal
  • Very severe or stage 4 (also known as end-stage lung disease) with a lower FEV1 than stage 3, or those with stage 3 FEV1 and low blood oxygen levels.

End-Stage Lung Disease

End-stage lung disease or stage 4 describes the most severe form of lung disease. With a diagnosis of end-stage lung disease, people often have noticeable symptoms, including increased shortness of breath, coughing, wheezing and production of mucus.

People with end-stage lung disease often have significant airflow limitations. Even simple tasks like taking a shower, making the bed and cooking a meal become nearly impossible to do. In addition, people with end-stage lung disease often feel exhausted.

Typically, lung function drops to 30 percent or less during end-stage lung disease. Also, many people have low blood oxygen levels.

Remember, the term “end-stage lung disease” is used to describe stage 4 lung disease.

Treatment Options for End-Stage Lung Disease

Chronic lung diseases are progressive diseases and don’t have a cure. However, there are treatment options available. You and your doctor will work together to develop a plan. Because lung disease is progressive, your doctor may modify your treatment plan to better fit your needs over time.

Bronchodilators

Typically, doctors prescribe bronchodilators to help people open and relax their airways. In general, bronchodilators are inhalers, so the medicine goes straight into your lungs.

Bronchodilators come in short-acting and long-acting inhalers that also come in beta-agonist and anticholinergics. Short-acting bronchodilators provide quick relief while long-acting bronchodilators provide long-lasting relief.

  • Beta-agonists work to relax tightened muscles in your airways to help make them wider.
  • Anticholinergics help prevent the muscles around the airways from tightening and can help clear mucus from the lungs.

Inhaled Steroids and Combination Inhalers

Sometimes, your doctor may prescribe steroids. Steroids help reduce inflammation and help prevent flare-ups. To deliver the steroids directly to the lungs, your doctor may prescribe an inhaled steroid. During a flare-up, your doctor may prescribe an oral steroid.

Certain medications combine two different types of medicine into the same inhaler. These inhalers are called combination inhalers. For example, a combination inhaler may have a bronchodilator and an inhaled steroid.

Antibiotics and Vaccinations

Typically, people with end-stage lung disease have an increased risk of developing an infection or catching a virus, such as pneumonia or the flu. Infections could lead to serious complications or a flare-up.

If you notice a change in your lung health, symptoms or overall health, see your doctor as soon as possible. Your doctor may prescribe antibiotics to help you fight the infection. Depending on the severity of the infection or virus, your doctor may admit you to the hospital.

Reduce your risk of infection by staying up-to-date on your vaccinations and by seeing your doctor regularly even if you’re feeling well. Remember to get your yearly flu vaccine and to ask your doctor about having a pneumonia vaccine.

Lifestyle Modifications

In addition to taking your medications as prescribed by your doctor and seeing your doctor regularly, lifestyle modifications may also help people with end-stage lung disease feel better.

Quitting smoking is one of the most important steps someone with end-stage lung disease can do. Eating a lung-friendly, healthy diet and getting plenty of exercise are also important.

For example, gentle forms of exercise include walking and Tai Chi. These exercises build up strength, may help improve oxygen levels and may help reduce stress. Stress reduction promotes relaxation, and relaxation can help make it easier to breathe.

A healthy diet for someone with end-stage lung disease may include lean protein like grilled chicken or shrimp, fresh fruit like oranges that are rich in vitamins and dairy-free almond milk that is fortified with vitamins and calcium.

These lifestyle changes may have a great impact on how you feel.

Oxygen Therapy

Oxygen is essential to a properly functioning body, and all cells, organs and tissues need oxygen. However, many people with end-stage lung disease have trouble maintaining adequate oxygen levels. To help people receive enough oxygen, doctors often prescribe oxygen therapy.

Cellular Therapy

What Does It Mean When You Have End-Stage Lung Disease?

For some people, cellular therapy has helped them feel better. People at any stage of lung disease progression may be able to have cellular therapy. Cellular therapy has the potential to promote healing from within the lungs. It may also improve quality of life.

For people living with any stage of lung disease, time is an important factor people often consider. If you or someone you love has end-stage lung disease or any stage of lung disease and would like to learn more about cellular therapy, contact us at (800) 729-3065.

23 Comments

  1. Lung Institute

    4 months ago

    Heather:

    We are sorry to hear about your condition. We would recommend seeing a specialist. We do not diagnose diseases, but we do treat people who have been diagnosed with a lung disease.

    We’re happy to answer your questions about cellular therapy for chronic lung diseases. We have a dedicated medical team who have a wealth of knowledge about cellular therapy, treatment options, candidacy, cost and more. So, feel free to give us a call at (855) 313-1149. We look forward to hearing from you soon.

    Sincerely,

    The Lung Institute

  2. Heather England

    4 months ago

    I’m a 30 yr old female 5’6 WITH a athletic build. I had my right lung collaspe 5times before I was sent to a bigger City to undergo a bulloectomy. I’m now told I have a severe case of these air pockets in my lung tissue and need the left side operated on as soon as my right is able to hold up thru surgery . I smoked for about 15yrs and oddly had quit 3weeks before This happened. I can’t seem to get any answers as to what my future holds or why this happened to me . What is this and will it come back ? They say it’s Genetic but it’s not in my family anywhere . I know where I live it’s hard to get a primary care Dr and I’m afraid Im running out of time . Any info you can give me on bullous disease ?

  3. Lung Institute

    8 months ago

    Dana:

    First off, we are very sorry to hear about your condition and that it is progressing. Most traditional COPD treatments merely treat the symptoms but do not address the condition. Our research indicates that more than 84 percent of our patients state they have an improved quality of life within three months of treatment.

    You can learn more about our cellular treatments and have your questions answered by one of our qualified patient coordinators. Feel free to contact us at (855) 313-1149 for more information. We look forward to hearing from you soon.

    Sincerely,

    The Lung Institute

  4. Lung Institute

    8 months ago

    Judith:

    Thank you for your comment and we are sorry to hear about your condition. Many people have had COPD well before they are diagnosed with it. Some just assume that their problems are just a normal part of aging and don’t address it for a while. We have had tremendous success in treating patients and many have returned to walking as far and as often as they did before the disease. Take a look at our testimonials page to watch some great stories.

    In order to determine if someone is a candidate for treatment, we need to gather more of their private medical history in a secure setting. The best way to do that is by giving us a call and speaking one-on-one with someone on our medical team over our secure phone line. We’re happy to answer your questions about cells, treatment options, candidacy and cost. So, feel free to contact us at (855) 313-1149. We look forward to hearing from you soon.

    Sincerely,

    The Lung Institute

  5. Lung Institute

    8 months ago

    Clifford:

    We are sorry to hear about your COPD and hope the Lung Institute may be able to provide a solution. Most traditional treatments only help a person manage the disease but not address the condition. Our treatment actually addresses the disease.

    In order to determine if youe are a candidate for treatment, we need to gather private medical history in a secure setting. The best way to do that is by giving us a call and speaking one-on-one with someone on our medical team over our secure phone line. We’re happy to answer your questions about cells, treatment options, candidacy and cost. So, feel free to contact us at (855) 313-1149. We look forward to hearing from you soon.

    Sincerely,

    The Lung Institute

  6. Lung Institute

    9 months ago

    Dick:

    We are glad that you enjoy reading our articles and hope they are informative. Please contact us if you are interested in treatments.

    At the Lung Institute, we provide an alternative treatment option for people with Lung Disease such as COPD or Pulmonary Fibrosis. If you are interested to learn more about our options please contact one of our patient coordinators at (888) 510-7519 for more information. We look forward to hearing from you soon.

    Kind regards,

    The Lung Institute

  7. Lung Institute

    9 months ago

    John:

    At this time, Medicare, Medicaid and insurance companies don’t cover treatment. We would like to inform you that we are offering a big discount if you sign up for treatments this week (Aug. 21-25). We’re hopeful that treatment will be covered in the near future. We’re happy to answer your questions about cellular therapy for chronic lung diseases. We have a dedicated medical team who have a wealth of knowledge about cellular therapy, treatment options, candidacy, cost and more. So, feel free to give us a call at (855) 313-1149. We look forward to hearing from you soon.

    Best Regards,

    The Lung Institute

  8. Lung Institute

    9 months ago

    Patsy:

    We are very sorry to hear about your husband, and we understand this can be a difficult time. There are COPD support groups for caregivers and those suffering from the disease.

    Here is a link to an article we recently wrote that may help.

    We’re happy to answer your questions about cellular treatment, so feel free to contact us at (855) 313-1149 to speak one-on-one with one of our patient coordinators. We look forward to hearing from you soon.

    Sincerely,

    The Lung Institute

  9. Lung Institute

    10 months ago

    James,

    Congratulations on quitting smoking! That is a huge accomplishment, and we applaud you for your success, and are happy to hear that you’re seeing positive differences in your life as a result. Keep up the great work!

    Best,

    Lung Institute

  10. Barb

    10 months ago

    Brian Gayden see if your dr will prescribe spiriva RestImat. I have COPD and Spiriva has helped me tremendously! Also ask for Breo in blue box. I take both meds every morning. Feeling much better.

  11. Patsy.

    10 months ago

    My husband is in the very, very ” end syage” we have been married 51 years and I am having a very hard time dealing with this. He is more concerned as to how I will be after he is gone. Any advise out there for me?

  12. James Agnew

    10 months ago

    I quit smoking about 4 months ago I cannot believe what a huge difference it has made.smoked for 45 years and thought it was just to dam late for me. I have stage 4. But I was wrong, it made such a difference. It is hard, no doubt.

  13. John m

    10 months ago

    A big deal to get cell Therapy and can be something that could save my life and others and can make your quality of life better. The big problem is that it’s not covered by any insurance I have. Medicare and Medicaid doesn’t cover the treatment which costs around $8,500.

  14. Dana Lee

    10 months ago

    PO Box 115
    I’m a 49yr old woman who has been diagnosed with COPD since I was in my late 20’s, and has gotten worse over the years. But a major decline in the last year or less. My Dr has never GIVen this disease to me in stages. Instead says to me, you should get your affairs in order, your COPD is taking a major decline and fast like a mudslide. Then isn’t doing squat about it. I have two different types of inhalers and singular for breathing, plus a duo Neb for a Neb machine. But nothing seems to be working. But also have blood disorder called polycithemia Which as I’m sure you know causes low Blood oxygen levels in it’s self. So I’m not sure what to do about an EFfective treatment. Any thoughts would really be appreciated. Thank you very much
    Dana L.

  15. clifford gantz

    10 months ago

    I have copd according to my doctors stage four i’m told. i am 77 yrs.old and am in good shape considering. is there any hope of defeating this disease or anything worthwhile to achieve better breathing ?

  16. Dick

    11 months ago

    I read y article each time you po it
    I will be i im contact later as i am in stage two. WITH THREE nogels
    Bee th wa For three years

  17. judith farkas

    11 months ago

    i haveemphysema. am 79 years old woman. been diagnosed 5 years ago but must had it well before and unaware. i only seen drs in hospital when i had a flare up. i take 2 inhalers spiriva 1x aday and an other 2x morning and evening. i am totally short of breath cant reallywalk any distance, but i go to a fym 3-4x a week for an hour, doing heavy exercises with weight. funnily i can cope there and always leave with much betterbreathing. also i have arthritis ofthe knees
    and thats make walking really impossible..what i miss is the walking i always walked 1-2 hours daily with my dogs. otherwise i am really healthy not on any medication apart from panadol for knee pain.do you think if i really tried walking my breathing wouuld improve. also i took a butteyko breathing course which is great help, only breath through the nose.get really bad anxiety attacks if i want to walk. please give me some advice, my dr is hopeless. thank you

  18. wynell

    11 months ago

    I do understand what end stage is . See everryone on the 19 of july ! Thanks! wynell

  19. Phoebe

    11 months ago

    Hi Wynell,

    Thank you for sharing your feedback and concerns with us. We have reached out to our medical team and let them know of your concerns. You will receive an email soon from Kelly. She will be able to speak with you directly and answer any additional questions you have. We look forward to speaking with you soon.

    Best Regards,

    The Lung Institute

  20. wynell

    11 months ago

    I was disappointed that the doctors that is on staff has no true experience in cell procedure or studies under their belt! Don’t know what to think about an ENT Dr. tending to my lung disease! just don’t know!

  21. Phoebe

    1 year ago

    Dear Tina,

    Thank you for bringing this to our attention. We will revise this article immediately as it is not our intention to insult anyone living with a chronic lung disease. We agree with you that people with chronic lung diseases don’t ignore their condition and aren’t to blame. We understand how challenging COPD and other chronic lung diseases are to live with, and we hope to help people feel better with our articles.

    Kind Regards,

    The Lung Institute

  22. Tina

    1 year ago

    Sorry-cant stop the caps.
    The line about the patient ignoring symptoms (so shouldn’t be surprised at this stage brought on themselves) is really insulting. And not true. Most of us have been blown off by countless doctors until it’s too late. They’re the worst issue needing addressed. About Everyone knows this firsthand or via friends or family.

  23. Brian Gayden

    3 years ago

    I have suffered with COPD for at least twenty years of the last thirteen Years i have not smoked . I am a 77 year old male. I have also had two bouts of neumonia. One this year 2014.At present I am experiencing shortness of breath.I have just finished a. Course of doxycycline so hopefully I will now start to get better. I have been reading on the net a drug called striverdi respirnat. Is this available on the NHS

* Every patient is given a Patient Satisfaction Survey shortly after treatment. Responses to the 11-question survey are aggregated to determine patient satisfaction with the delivery of treatment.

^ Quality of Life Survey data measured the patient’s self-assessed quality of life and measurable quality of improvement at three months.

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.

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 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.

Each patient is different. Results may vary.