How your physician diagnoses your life expectancy with COPD usually depends on a few factors. There are currently 24 million Americans living with a severe and deadly condition. The very essence of this disease causes the lungs to deteriorate and makes every breath much more difficult to achieve. As the years progress, the condition ultimately takes its final toll upon its sufferer. This is the nature of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, more commonly known as COPD.
Treatments and Life Expectancy with COPD
Medically speaking, the term “COPD” encompasses two very different conditions known as emphysema and chronic bronchitis, but both conditions are characterized by a restriction of airflow into and out of the lungs that makes breathing difficult. To this day, there is no cure for COPD. Treatment is available to help stop the progression, but that is pretty much the best you can hope for at the moment. While many patients with COPD know there is no cure for the disease, many people will ask the very same question: what is my life expectancy with COPD?
Factors That Decide Your Life Expectancy With COPD
Let’s go ahead and clear the air, shall we? When talking about the role of COPD, there is the unfortunate fact that death will occur at some point in the span of the patient’s condition. This post is meant to highlight an all too common question that gets asked by patients in what is the life expectancy with COPD.
There is no quick answer or rule when diagnosing the life expectancy of COPD. Having such a severe and progressive lung disease will shorten your lifespan, but this depends on a number of variables, like the overall health of a person. One method that doctors and researchers have developed for measuring life expectancy is with 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 has a different impact on the sufferer, but the general idea is the higher the stage of COPD, the shorter the life expectancy. Another system that doctor’s use to measure life expectancy with COPD is with the BODE Index. This system of measurement keeps track of your body mass index, airflow obstruction, dyspnea (trouble breathing) and a person’s exercise capacity. Here is a calculator that can demonstrate the BODE Index.
According to one case study, scientists found that people with COPD had a much increased chance of mortality than those who do not. Using the GOLD System, researchers kept track for years of patients with COPD. The results found that current or ongoing smokers have a shorter life expectancy than patients that quit.