Using the COPD Foundation's COPD Pocket Consultant (which you can find a www.copdfoundation.org) there are three stages: FEV1 greater than 60% is mild; between 59 and 30% is moderate and less than 30% is severe. The Gold ( http://www.goldcopd.org/standards) are a bit more complicated and use four stages: mild 70% and up; moderate 50% to 69%; severe 49 to 40% and very severe less than 30%.
As for life expectancy, what you usually find on many web sites is an average life expectancy of five years past diagnosis. That usually puts people in an absolute panic, at best prompting funeral planning and difficult conversations with family; at worst sending people into profound depression. If you think about that realistically and rationally, however, a much different picture reveals itself. That's an average number, so it includes all the people who died within a day of their diagnosis because they were terminally ill as well as those folks who've lived for 40 or 50 years with COPD.
No one comes with an "expires by" date stamped on their forehead. People have lived very well with COPD for 40 years. I've had it since at least 1985 and probably before that, because it's not something you just "come down with"; it's something you develop over many years. Some researchers believe that you begin to develop it when you first start smoking or when you first begin breathing whatever contaminants you were exposed to.
Don't worry about your life expectancy; worry about how to increase your quality of life right now: exercise, diet, take you meds, stay away from people with bugs and if you do catch something respiratory, get to your doc ASAP.
@A MyCOPDTeam Member I don't understand the stages of copd, in fact, I just learned of them now
as I read these questions I have had copd for about 20 yrs and today at my DRs, she told
me my last breathing test was very good and I have gained 3%more lung function. I am now
at 36% and she says that I can live another 20 yrs if I keep walking like I have done for 7 yrs
and exercise I am 78 yrs old and I intend to keep on trucking!!
At the moment I do not have Specialist in Pulmonary problems because the one how check on me and gave the Diagnosis COPD; left the office and nobody knows about him. Just this week ask my family Doctor if he can send me to a good Specialist. I have Insur. And I want to know more about my health and the stage too. My Question: Taking Spiriva, Ventolin and Symbicort plus oxygen is the best way to keep the problem under countrol? This treatment did't change since I had the diagnosis but I feel that breathing is getting more difficult I,m thinking maybe Nebulizers can help me????
I no longer worry about life expectancy. When first diagnosed in 2013 I was really ill and was told I may have only 5 years left. You better believe I changed doctors quick. I took lots of medication and inhalers with oxygen 24/7. After I stopped feeling bad for me I started eating better and lost 29 pounds. I was in a research group for 1 year recommended by my pulmonologist and the medication they put me on worked great. I now can actually do work around the house and go shopping. I use oxygen at night only. I did during this time developed panic attacks, anxiety and depression which is well under control. Today I feel like a new person and I stay positive and live day by day and don't worry about anything else but keeping myself healthy and happy.
There is NO cure. You can keep your symptoms at bay if you eat right, breath easy, read, read, read. I have had it for 8 years and much much longer truth be known. We have to acknowledge our illness, see a specialist, follow the guidelines for people with COPD. Eating properly, stay away from perfume and other toiletries and household cleaners with fumes, not to much hot or cold weather. If you are tired, rest. You can't push yourself, your body won't let you. God Bless. Janie
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