What are the 4 stages of COPD?

Get the treatment you need to slow the progression of COPD. Your doctor will rate your spirometry results from grade 1 (least severe) to grade 4 (most severe).

What are the 4 stages of COPD?

Get the treatment you need to slow the progression of COPD. Your doctor will rate your spirometry results from grade 1 (least severe) to grade 4 (most severe). These grades correlate with stage 1 to stage 4 COPD in the previous system. Stage 1 COPD is considered mild.

At this stage, you may not realize that you have any problems with lung function. Your doctor will assign you grade 1 COPD if your FEV1 is between 80 and 100 percent of your predicted value. With stage 1 COPD, your doctor may recommend bronchodilator medicine to open the airways in your lungs. Usually, these medicines are taken through an inhaler or nebulizer.

Your COPD is considered to be stage 2 when FEV1 falls from 50 to 79 percent of its predicted value. When it reaches stage 3, COPD is considered severe and its forced expiratory volume is between 30 and 50 percent of its predicted value. You may have trouble catching your breath when doing household chores, and you may not be able to leave your home. In stage 3, you may have more frequent flare-ups and your shortness of breath and cough may get worse.

You're likely to get tired more easily than before. Stage 4 is considered very serious. Your forced expiratory volume is less than 30 percent of your normal value and your blood oxygen levels will be low. You're at risk of developing heart or lung failure.

For stage 4, you're likely to have frequent flare-ups that can be fatal. You may have trouble breathing even when you are resting. COPD used to be classified from stage 1 to stage 4 by how much its lung function had decreased. Now, doctors combine the results of a lung function test with subjective measures of symptom severity to determine the risk of COPD.

Each stage is defined according to the spirometry measurement of FEV1 (the volume of air exhaled in the first second after a forced exhalation). End-stage COPD is considered stage IV or very severe COPD with FEV1 less than or equal to 30%. Some people in stage IV may still function reasonably well, with few limitations. On the other hand, there are also many people at this stage who are very ill.

You may be concerned that your healthcare providers did everything they could for you when they diagnosed you with end-stage COPD. Nutritional counseling may be suggested because malnutrition is a common complication in end-stage COPD and increases the risk of death. The GOLD criteria are the standardized way in which COPD is evaluated and classified and includes recommendations on how physicians should manage the different stages of the disease. When you have been diagnosed with late-stage COPD, be sure to also talk to your health care team and loved ones about your values and beliefs to help ensure that any end-of-life care is consistent with your wishes.

With moderate COPD, shortness of breath during daily activities is more evident and you may also experience increased coughing and mucus production, says Hatipoglu. In its early stages, COPD is hardly noticeable, but it gets worse over time, unless you get the right treatment. Patients at this stage may be prescribed a long-acting inhaler and should begin pulmonary rehabilitation, a training program for COPD patients to learn more about their condition and how to manage their symptoms. If you have been diagnosed with end-stage COPD, it's important to know that there is no way to predict exactly how long you will live.

Understanding end-stage COPD and what you can do to prevent it from getting there starts with taking small daily steps to improve your health. End-stage chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) refers to being in the final stages of the disease. During end-stage or very severe COPD, almost everything you do causes shortness of breath and limits your mobility, says Hatipoglu. According to the GOLD system, there are four stages of COPD: mild, moderate, severe and very severe, and to classify which stage a patient is in, the doctor will perform a lung function test using a device called a spirometer.

With end-stage COPD, you are likely to have limitations in your activity levels, leading to a risk of blood clots, obesity, and pressure ulcers. Staging COPD helps your doctor decide on the best treatment plan to help you better manage your condition and health. . .

Travis Ardaly
Travis Ardaly

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