The official blog of the Lung Institute.
Now that you know the general information about chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) and the COPD stages, prognosis and life expectancy, it’s important to understand how each stage is broken down. Each COPD stage differs in severity of symptoms, spirometry and COPD screening results and how COPD affects your life. In this article, we’ll focus on what you need to know about stage 1 COPD, which is also known as mild stage COPD.
Determining Stage 1 COPD
There are four total COPD stages, ranging from mild to very severe. Your doctor or pulmonologist will take a medical history, perform certain lung function tests and take into account how COPD affects your life to determine your stage of COPD.
Pulmonary function tests, which includes spirometry, will give lung function measurements to your doctor. Typically, doctors use the GOLD System and the BODE Index to help them categorize your stage of COPD.
Stage 1 COPD
During stage 1 COPD, most people don’t notice many symptoms and don’t know there is a problem. Because stage 1 COPD is the mildest stage, you may not have noticed a decrease in lung function yet. Stage 1 COPD typically causes minor airflow limitation. However, you may start to see an increase in mucus production, or you might develop a chronic cough.
Many people with stage 1 COPD don’t visit their doctor to talk about their symptoms, leaving their COPD untreated. Because COPD is a progressive disease, meaning it will worsen over time, it’s essential to receive a COPD diagnosis and to begin a COPD treatment plan as soon as possible. Diagnosing and treating COPD early gives you the best chance to slow the progression of the disease and improve your quality of life. It also helps you and your doctor develop the best treatment plan for you.
Stage 1 COPD Treatment
Because COPD affects everyone differently and at different rates, your COPD treatment plan will likely change over time. Depending on your stage 1 COPD symptoms, your doctor may prescribe a variety of medications, such as bronchodilators, flu and pneumonia vaccines and others.
Your doctor may also recommend lifestyle modifications, such as quitting smoking, avoiding your COPD symptom triggers, eating a lung-healthy diet and getting enough exercise. These lifestyle modifications have been shown to help people with COPD live a more active life.
In combination with medications and lifestyle modifications, many people have benefited from trying alternative COPD treatments, such as chiropractic care, acupuncture and stem cell therapy. Typically, medications work to manage and reduce COPD symptoms. However, stem cell therapy works to promote healing from within the lungs, potentially improving breathing and quality of life.
Many patients report feeling better after treatment, are able to reduce their oxygen therapy use and can live a more active life doing their favorite activities. Stem cell therapy can help people in any stage of COPD, from stage 1 COPD to end stage COPD. If you or a loved one has COPD, emphysema, chronic bronchitis or another chronic lung disease, contact us at (800) 729-3065 to learn more about your stem cell treatment options.