COPD Stage 0
About this stage in the disease process
About COPD Stage 0
The GOLD (Chronic Obstructive Lung Disease) Initiative, a global coalition for the promotion of awareness, management and prevention of (COPD), ranks the progression of COPD through stages of severity. The first ranking is named COPD Stage 0, because the patient does not yet meet the qualification for a diagnosis of COPD. This stage is represented by individuals that are at high risk of developing the disease.
A major sign that a person has COPD is the capacity of his or her lungs is decreased. Due to constant inflammation of the airways, COPD patients struggle to breathe properly. They have difficulty blowing out air with any force, and the overall volume of air they can hold in their lungs is diminished. The forced expiratory volume test (FEV1) is essentially the volume of air that can be blown out in the first second of exhaling. Another significant test is the forced vital capacity (FVC) test, which measures lung’s volume capacity. When measuring lung capacity, a common statistic is a combination of the two tests called the FEV1/FVC ratio. This number essentially represents the percentage that the lungs can breathe out of the quantity of air inhaled. A healthy person has a FEV1/FVC ratio of or around 80 percent. Thus the lower the FEV1/FVC ratio the more significant the disease.
In COPD Stage 0, there is no specific lung capacity measurement to qualify for the stage. Typically, COPD Stage 0 is identified by symptoms rather than tested lung functioning.
Symptoms of COPD Stage 0 are:
- Sputum: coughing up mucus
- Dyspnea: breathing discomfort
- Shortness of breath
Treatment of COPD Stage 0
Since COPD Stage 0 doesn’t qualify as a diagnosis for COPD, it is not common for any drugs to be prescribed for treatment. According to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) around 83 percent of people with CPOD smoke, hence, the most common treatment for COPD Stage 0 is an aggressive smoking cessation program.