Understanding the Stages of COPD
Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) is a progressive lung disease that can range from mild to severe. COPD is also an umbrella term and it includes emphysema and chronic bronchitis. The symptoms and prognosis depend upon the stage of the disease. What people don’t often realize is that there are several stages of COPD.
There are four stages categorized under the COPD GOLD Guidelines. These stages are part of the Global Initiative for Chronic Obstructive Lung Disease (GOLD) system. The GOLD staging system of classification is the main system used by physicians to describe the severity of COPD.
Stages of COPD are determined through testing. The main test used to determine the stage of COPD is a pulmonary function test (PFT) or spirometry. It measures the amount of air a person can blow out, or exhale forcefully, in one second, called the forced expiratory volume (FEV1).
The GOLD staging system divides emphysema and COPD into four stages. The American Association for Respiratory Care also lists a Stage Zero on their chart, which means a person is at risk though their only symptoms are chronic cough with mucus.
Stages of COPD
- Stage I – Stage I is mild COPD. Patients in this stage have a chronic cough and mucus. But they may not even know they have COPD. They may make up the 12 million Americans with undiagnosed COPD.
- Stage II – Stage II is moderate COPD. Patients may be experiencing more and more shortness of breath, even during everyday activities. This is usually the stage where patients see the physician to have their symptoms checked out.
- Stage III – Stage III is severe COPD. Patients are having major difficulty with air flow, and their quality of life is compromised.
- Stage IV – Stage IV is very severe COPD. Patients have severe airflow limitations, and their COPD exacerbations are dangerous. Quality of life usually goes down a lot.
Only a physician can accurately diagnose what stage of COPD you have, and help come up with a treatment plan. COPD is a progressive disease, but its symptoms can be treated and the progression can be slowed.
The Lung Institute utilizes autologous stem cells, derived from the patient’s own bone marrow and blood. During these procedures, stem cells are extracted, isolated and then immediately introduced back into the body where they then divide and replicate into healthy cells specialized to the damaged tissue. The use of autologous stem cells in transplantation is considered to be more reliable than stem cells from another individual as there is a much lower probability of rejection due to the fact that autologous stem cells are derived from the patient’s own body. All our stem cell procedures have shown anti-inflammatory properties beneficial to patients with lung disease.
Stem cells have the ability to self-renew indefinitely, meaning they have the capability to divide many times and specialize to promote the healing of organs while still sustaining the original undifferentiated cell. Depending on the nature of the patient’s condition and health history, the bone marrow procedure is always performed in conjunction with the venous procedure while the venous procedure may be performed on its own.