Chronic Lung Disease Life Expectancy
How Long Is Left On The Clock?
Let’s go ahead and clear the air, shall we? When talking about the role of chronic obstructive lung disease (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 that gets asked by patients in what is the chronic lung disease life expectancy.
There is no quick answer or rule when diagnosing the life expectancy of 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. 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 the 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 case study, scientists found that people with COPD had a much increased chance of mortality than those who do not. Using the GOLD System, researchers kept track for years of patients with COPD. The results found that current or ongoing smokers have a shorter life expectancy than patients that quit. In addition to quitting smoking, there are treatment options that a person with COPD can take to be proactive in slowing down the decline in lung function.
COPD Treatment Options
For those who have been diagnosed with COPD, the main goals of treatment are: symptom relief, slow down decline in lung function, improve daily lung function, decrease number of acute episodes (aka COPD exacerbations) and improvement in overall quality of life. Many COPD sufferers use supplemental oxygen along with daily medications to manage symptoms. For those with more developed stages of COPD, more serious measures like a lung transplant or reduction might be an option. There is, however, a minimally invasive, alternative treatment that helps most lung disease sufferers. Stem cell therapy might help slow the development of lung disease and even improve it. Rather than managing symptoms like oxygen and medications, stem cell therapy harnesses your body’s natural healing abilities, essentially healing the lung tissue. While stem cell therapy is not a cure, it is an effective treatment that might provide lung disease sufferers with a much greater quality of life.
Of course, if you are looking for an alternative treatment for COPD, then the Lung Institute might be able to help! If you or someone you love would like know more about treatment options, feel free to contact one of our patient care coordinators today or call (800) 729-3065 today.