There are various COPD stages. Determining the right stage of the disease is a must, so that the proper form, mode, and intensity of treatment can be determined. Medications, lifestyle changes, the tools, and accessories used for keeping symptoms under control; all are decided upon the detection of the stage of COPD.
Spirometry test determines COPD stages
There is a proper test to determine what stage the disease is in. This test is called the Spirometry test. A grading obtained through the test tells the COPD stages. There is a grading system called the GOLD classification under the Spirometry test, which exactly pinpoints the stage of COPD as follows:
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Problems from advancing COPD stages
With advancing stages of the disease the following problems get aggravated:
How the disease progresses with the stages
In the mild stage, the shortness of breath is felt but often ignored. At times the patient would not really notice anything significant other than coughing and expulsion of some mucus at times. Not all patients understand the problem in this stage; however, the lungs get affected inside.
In the moderate stage, the problem with breathing worsens and gets noticeable. Patients would notice breathlessness after any brisk activity or even after any normal activity. This is the time when most patients start noticing that they have this problem with breathing and that they are getting less oxygen and are fatigued often.
In the severe stage, the airflow to and from the lungs is poor, and shortness of breath is too much. The patient won’t be able to do normal exercises at this point. At times symptoms get too serious which is referred to as exacerbation.
The very severe stage comes with life quality getting poor due to very limited airflow, frequent symptom attacks, and extreme difficulty in breathing.
According to WHO estimates, 65 million people have moderate to severe chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD). More than 3 million people died of COPD in 2005, which corresponds to 5% of all deaths globally.
Severe COPD can get to a point where your lungs may stop functioning and you may need a lung transplant.
Did you know that lung transplants have the lowest survival rate among all transplants? Only about 50% of people live 5 years after having a lung transplant and patients have to take up to 50 pills a day!
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