When is the Right Time for Treatment?

by | Sep 15, 2015 | COPD

It starts off as shortness of breath during routine activities; then it moves onto breathing discomfort and chronic coughing. It may not be much at first, but without realizing it, you may be feeling the effects of the early stages of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD). So if you’re wondering “When is the Right Time for Treatment?” – the right time is now.

Stage One COPD

COPD is a progressive disease, meaning it typically increases in severity over time. The least severe stage is Stage One COPD, or Mild COPD. Doctors measure COPD stages by the amount of air a patient can forcibly exhale in one second, known as FEV1. People with FEV1-predicted levels of 80 percent or more fall into this category.

Stage One COPD Symptoms:

  • “Smoker’s cough.”
  • Sputum: coughing up mucus.
  • Dyspnea: breathing discomfort.
  • Shortness of breath.

Stage One COPD Treatment

Some people who seek medical help from a doctor are sometimes prescribed a short-acting bronchodilator to help increase airflow. Patient education on what can lead to COPD flare-ups is important. If you smoke, receiving a stage one COPD diagnosis is a good reason to quit.

Stage Two COPD

Stage Two COPD is also called Moderate COPD. The FEV1 levels for someone with Stage Two COPD are greater than 50 percent and less than 80 percent.

Stage Two COPD Symptoms:

  • Shortness of breath.
  • More sputum.
  • More breathing discomfort.
  • Chest tightness.

Stage Two COPD Treatment

Doctors may prescribe a short or long-acting bronchodilator. A smoking cessation plan is recommended if not already being implemented.

Stage Three COPD

Known as Severe COPD, Stage Three COPD is a later stage of the disease progression. FEV1 levels are greater than 30 percent but less than 50 percent.

Stage Three COPD Symptoms:

  • Chronic coughing.
  • Greater amount of sputum.
  • Breathing discomfort.
  • Chest tightness.
  • Unintended weight loss.
  • Frequent respiratory infections.

Stage Three COPD Treatment

There is no cure for Stage Three COPD. Some of the ways to help manage symptoms include short and long-acting bronchodilators, glucocorticosteroids, monitoring environment/reduce airborne particles, and pulmonary rehabilitation class.

Stage Four COPD

Stage Four COPD, known as Very Severe COPD or End-Stage COPD, is the worst stage of COPD. FEV1 levels are less than 30 percent if they don’t have chronic respiratory failure.

Stage Four COPD Symptoms:

  • Chronic coughing.
  • Greater amount of sputum.
  • Breathing discomfort.
  • Blueness of the lips or fingernail bed (cyanosis).
  • Shortness of breath.
  • Chest tightness.
  • Unintended weight loss.
  • Frequent respiratory infections.
  • Chronic respiratory failure.

Treatment for Stage Four COPD

Some ways to help manage Stage Four COPD symptoms include using a short or long-acting bronchodilaror, a long-term supplemental oxygen supply , glucocorticosteroids, monitoring your environment and reducing airborne particles, taking a pulmonary rehabilitation class, and surgery.

If you’re noticing any of these symptoms, the sooner you schedule a medical examination the better. It’s never too early or too late to seek treatment. If you or a loved one is suffering from COPD, the Lung Health Institute may be able to help. We are committed to providing patients a more effective way to address pulmonary conditions and improve quality of life. If you’d like to learn more about our treatment options, please visit our website at LungInstitute.com, like us on Facebook or contact us at 888-745-6697.

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