Tana, you may never progress from stage 1 to stage 2, especially if you stop smoking, exercise daily for at least 30 minutes, watch your weight, take your meds, get your flu shots, stay away from people with bugs and get to your doc ASAP when you do get something respiratory. There are more things you can do for yourself to manage and control COPD than there are meds for it. Get busy and get moving, stay in shape and you could easily go through life not even knowing you have a chronic condition.
@A MyCOPDTeam Member As you said, you MAY not progress the next stage. I was diagnosed 5 years ago at stage 2 and I feel better now than before I was diagnosed due to medication which only the Foxair spray twice a day. I will stay positive that I MIGHT not progress to the next stage due to avoiding all the things you suggested, have done this for 5 years. I will be 78 in July and still go to exercise jazz dance class. I am remiss in that I don't walk enough because I find too many other things to do. However, if I am out to the shops, I walk briskly to make up for that. Cheers and here is to us all to keep going.
@A MyCOPDTeam Member, I understand what you're saying. An OB/GYN told me I had asthma when I was 35, gave me an inhaler, and I just got it refilled from time to time. Smoking, yes. Trying to quit, yes. Crippled by respiratory problems, not really, and I had to deal with some tough stuff, physically and emotionally. My father died from COPD in 2008 -- but he was 88 years old. I continued to function normally until a breast cancer diagnosis in 2012 and that's when I started "falling apart." It's been very, very complicated, but I'm still here!
I'm 72 and know that I'm already in worse shape than my father was just before he died. The difference is that he wasn't all that interested in living much longer, or at least not interested in participating in the process, and I am very much interested in hanging around a while longer. Time will tell whether what I'm doing (and what he refused to do) makes a difference, so hopefully someone will notice and pass it on in case my choices are ineffective.
And by choices I mean investing in my own treadmill (actually cheaper than rehab over a year) and find I jump on much more frequently when I can do it in my nightgown and not at the end of a 45-minute commute. A year ago, I could get down on my yoga mat but had to have help getting back up. Now I can get myself back up but do the yoga exercises very, very slowly. I've got an oximeter that helps me tell the difference between between short of breath and having a panic attack, and I've got a prescription in case the panic attack wins -- and it hasn't won in a very long time.
Quick edit, just in case someone might misunderstand, it's been over a year since my last cigarette. I still really, really want one sometimes but I want more to breathe -- and breathe a very long time.
Tana you are still young and I don't think there is a definite prognosis that can be given to your question
"How long".? 4 years ago I was diagnosed for the first time as stage 2. Stage 1 went by unnoticed. Today I feel better than I did then. Don't know why and maybe it is because I don't think about COPD. Live your life as best you can with healthy diet, exercise and many interests. Don't anticipate progressing to the next stage. Today is what counts. I wish you well.