Life Expectancy with COPD
There are currently over 24 million people in America suffering from COPD. This condition worsens the condition of the lungs, making breathing harder. As time passes it gets worse and takes its final toll on the patient. This is the nature of Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease.
COPD is a term used to describe two different conditions known as emphysema and chronic bronchitis. However, both conditions are characterised by their ability to restrict airflow into and out of the lungs that makes breathing difficult. Till date, there is no cure for COPD. There are treatments to help reduce the progression of the disease, but that’s it. The most common question among patients suffering this disease is: How much time do I have?
Let’s talk about COPD life expectancy.
How Much Time Do Most People Have?
There is an unfortunate fact that patients will die at some point during the span of this disease. So what is the life expectancy of COPD patients?
The truth remains that there is no simple answer to this question. Having such a severe and progressive disease will surely shorten one’s lifespan. However, the life expectancy of any COPD patient depends on different variables, like the overall health condition of such person, medical history and some personal habits. A method used by doctors to determine a patient’s life expectancy is 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 in COPD makes a different impact on each patient, but the general principle is that the higher the stage of COPD, the shorter the life expectancy. Another measurement method used is the BODE index. This method keeps track of your body mass index, airflow obstruction, dyspnea and a person’s exercise capacity.
By using the GOLD System, researchers are able to track years of patients with COPD. The results also shows that current or ongoing smokers have a shorter life expectancy than patients that quit.
How can I treat COPD?
There are lots of treatment methods available for COPD. However, there is no “best” method as different patients have different symptoms. Therefore we advice you contact your doctors to determine the best treatment option for your COPD condition.