COPD Life Expectancy: Explaining the Stages of Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease

Anyone diagnosed with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) should understand the condition’s various stages, including the reality of COPD life expectancy.

COPD life expectancy

People are living longer with COPD through the use of inhaler medications, portable oxygen systems and pulmonary rehabilitation.

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Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, unfortunately, is associated with a reduced life expectancy. Your COPD prognosis, however, won’t be as bad if you’re in the mildest COPD stages at about age 65. For example, your COPD life expectancy, if you have Stage 1 COPD, might be reduced by just a few years compared to a healthy, fit older adult. (Quit smoking and take care of your overall health, and you have a chance to help boost your COPD life expectancy.) But if you’re in the more severe COPD stages (Stage 3 and Stage 4 COPD), plus you still smoke, your COPD life expectancy is reduced by more; studies suggest you lose about six years of life.

One of the ways your doctor can predict your COPD life expectancy is by comparing your COPD signs and symptoms to the “GOLD” COPD guidelines (GOLD stands for Global Initiative for Chronic Obstructive Lung Disease). The BODE index (see below) also may be used.

copd guidelines

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Determining COPD Life Expectancy: GOLD Guidelines

The GOLD COPD guidelines divide COPD signs and symptoms into four stages:

  • Stage 1: Mild COPD
  • Stage 2: Moderate COPD
  • Stage 3: Severe COPD
  • Stage 4: Very severe COPD

If you’re in the severe or very severe COPD stages, advanced treatments can help increase your COPD life expectancy, but there are no COPD cures.

BODE Index

Another method that may be used to calculate COPD life expectancy during a COPD prognosis is the BODE index, which gives you a score based on certain factors:

B for body mass

Body mass is a relation of your height to your weight. If your body mass index (BMI) is low, your COPD life expectancy may be worse.

  • BMI higher than 21 = 0 points
  • BMI 21 or less = 1 point

O for obstruction of airflow

This is assessed with a spirometry test that measures how much air you can forcibly exhale in one second. This gives you a “forced expiratory volume in 1 second” (FEV1) score, which is compared to the score that would be expected for a predicted for a person your age with no lung disease.

  • FEV1 greater than 64 percent of predicted = 0 points
  • FEV1 50-64 percent of predicted = 1 point
  • FEV1 36-49 percent of predicted = 2 points
  • FEV1 less than 36 percent of predicted = 3 points

D for dyspnea

Dyspnea means shortness of breath. If you suffer shortness of breath with very little exertion, your COPD prognosis may be worse.

  • No dyspnea except with strenuous exercise = 0 points
  • Shortness of breath when walking up a short hill = 1 point
  • Dyspnea limits your walking pace and you need to stop to catch your breath = 2 points
  • You stop to catch your breath after walking 100 yards on level ground, and your dyspnea prevents you from leaving your home and performing activities of daily living = 3 points

E for exercise capacity

This is measured by seeing how fast you are able to walk over six minutes.

  • More than 349 meters = 0 points
  • 250-349 meters = 1 point
  • 150-249 meters = 2 points
  • Less than 150 meters = 3 points

For more information on COPD, please visit these University Health News posts:


Originally published in 2016, this post is regularly updated.

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Comments
  • Shirley H.

    I was diagnosed of Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD) in summer of 2014, my symptoms started out with shortness of breath and chronic cough. The pulmonary disease specialist prescribed me some medications to help my symptoms however the medications did no good and their side effects were too severe. In May 2016, i started on NewLife Herbal Clinic COPD Herbal formula treatment, i read alot of positive reviews on their success rate with the COPD Herbal formula and i immediately started on the treatment. Just 11 weeks into the Herbal formula treatment I had great improvements with my breathing, there is no case of dyspnea and chest tightness since treatment, visit NewLife Herbal Clinic official website www. newlifeherbalclinic. com or email info@ newlifeherbalclinic. com. This treatment is incredible!

    Shirley Heche

  • My mother was hospitalized for triple pneumonia and was diagnosed at that time with COPD. She had been a smoker since she was 16 years old and was about 70 years at diagnosis, so she had been smoking for about 55 years. We were so well educated about the damage smoking had done to her lungs,and we know there is no cure to COPD ,thank GOD for leading us to GOOD HEALTH HERBS HOME,please don’t ignore this post is real, Dr George(Good health herbs home) is a real herbal Doctor ,he cured my mother of COPD,she was totally cured within 5 weeks of usage. Dr George (Good health herbs home) herbal medicine for COPD has no side effect,it works like a miracle,please viewers out there that have any deadly disease,please don’t fail contact Dr George via (www goodhealthherbshome com) .

  • My mother was hospitalized for triple pneumonia and was diagnosed at that time with COPD. She had been a smoker since she was 16 years old and was about 70 years at diagnosis, so she had been smoking for about 55 years. We were so well educated about the damage smoking had done to her lungs,and we know there is no cure to COPD ,thank GOD for leading us to GOOD HEALTH HERBS HOME,please don’t ignore this post is real, Dr George(Good health herbs home) is a real herbal Doctor ,he cured my mother of COPD,she was totally cured within 5 weeks of usage. Dr George (Good health herbs home) herbal medicine for COPD has no side effect,it works like a miracle,please viewers out there that have any deadly disease,please don’t fail contact Dr George via email drgeorge @ goodhealthherbshome .com , info @ goodhealthherbshome . com..or website goodhealthherbshome . com ..

  • william b.

    my wife has severe copd she is on 24hr oxygen can you help

  • My dad has COPD he’s on his last stage he just went to hospital he turned 70 in July plus he has Agent Orange from Vietnam what can I do for my dad to help him I would give my lungs if I could but he couldn’t go under for Sergey please someone tell me what I can do for my farther

  • Elizabeth M.

    I had chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) for 15 years. My first symptoms were dry cough, chest tightness and shortness of breath. My first chest x-ray only showed bronchitis. Finally I went to a pulmonologist, After many tests it was a CT scan that showed COPD, and scarring in my lungs. I quit smoking 17 years and 6 months ago. But the damage has been done. I got to the point I couldn’t catch my breath and was coughing so hard I thought the top of my head would blow off. The day after I had the scan I was on oxygen the next night and was on it 24/7. December 2017 I was searching for alternative help online and read about Mbeki herbal clinic and there herbal formula for COPD, I also read great reviews from people here in the United States who already used the herbal formula, I started on Mbeki Herbal Clinic COPD Herbal formula, 5 weeks into treatment I improved dramatically. At the end of the full treatment course, the disease is totally gone and my health restored. No case of shortness of breath, wheezing, weakness, or chest tightness

  • Kortne A.

    I have had emphysema for about five years. I was on oxygen during the day but not at night. I could go about two hours without the oxygen, and then I need it. I had a converter in the house and oxygen tanks for when I go shopping, etc. I am 64 years old and in relatively good health. The doctor said it was caused by a combination of smoking, dust here in Vegas, and 30 years of smog in California. I believed I will always need the oxygen to breathe. I quit smoking 15 years ago. But the damage has been done. January 2017 my pulmonologist and I decided to go with natural treatment and was introduced to Green House Herbal Clinic natural organic Emphysema Herbal formula, i had a total decline of symptoms with this Emphysema Herbal formula treatment. Visit Green House Herbal Clinic official web-site greenhouseherbalclinic. com. The infections, shortness of breath, fatigue, dry cough and other symptoms has subsided.  I am very pleased with this treatment. I breath very well now and exercise regularly, sometimes i totally forget i ever had Emphysema, I am thankful to nature, the medics failed. Share with friends!!

  • Last year I started on COPD Herbal formula treatment from rich herbs foundation, the treatment worked incredibly for my lungs condition. I used the herbal treatment for almost 5 months, it reversed my chronic obstructive pulmonary disease. My severe shortness of breath, dry cough, low energy, fatigue, chest tightness and others gradually disappeared. Visit rich herbs foundation official web page w w w. richherbsfoundation. c o m. This COPD treatment has improved the quality of my life greatly, i breath much better and It feels comfortable!

  • Karem P.

    HERBAL FORMULA
    My twin sister was diagnosed with COPD few years ago. She was on a trial for some months. It turned out that the drug she was given was not a placebo, but the real thing and it was working. Then they pulled the plug on it saying it was not viable! So. they got her on another trial, that trial also was cancelled after a while. 2017 I ordered COPD herbal remedy from Best Health Herbal Centre online and they shipped it to me. She only used the COPD herbal remedy for 5 weeks, all her symptoms disappeared, she stopped wearing oxygen and my family doctor confirmed her, COPD free now. Is almost 5 months now, no more COPD.

  • Karem P.

    HERBAL

    Right after my 40th birthday I was informed by my family doctor after having some chest X-rays that I had mild emphysema. I had smoked for 20 years. I kept smoking and started getting sick about 7 months later. I ended up in intensive care for six days in septic shock from double pneumonia and almost died. The minute I start to walk around my breathing gets bad. Even the oxygen doesn’t seem to help. I want to feel good, and alive and energetic besides, I have a 2 years old grandson and I want to watch him grow up. My search for alternative treatments for treating my emphysema eventually led me to some amazing researcher/herbal doctor called Dr Linda(Best Health Herbal Centre) who had made unbelievable advancements in the use of alternative treatments to actually “Reverse” diseases. This same researcher/herbal doctor was providing her patients with herbal supplements that restored the immune system. I followed suit once again purchasing emphysema herbal supplement. After 6 weeks of relentlessly taking of the emphysema herbal supplements twice each day i completely recovered from emphysema! All my symptoms are gone and Remaining positive helped me during this treatment. Contact her via: drlinda@ besthealthherbalcentre. com or w ww .besthealthherbalcentre. com

  • Pedro J.

    HERBS

    I was diagnosed with Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) and put on Prednisolone on december 29th, 2017. I followed it 100% for a month and could not help me the way am expecting. Finally i began to panic and called my doctor, he told me to get used to it. He said I would be on Prednisolone my whole life. At that point my life messed up and began to do a lot of research. Then I found Seth COPD story (google ” How I reversed my copd with herbal remedies” ) I read that article from end to end because everything Seth was saying made absolute sense. I started using the COPD herbal remedy february this year, product of BEST HEALTH HERBAL CENTRE. There was no diet involved, no side effect which was extremely marvelous. After the first 4 weeks of usage, my shortness of breath, chest tightness and cough disappeared completely. My COPD was totally reversed after 6 weeks of usage. Now am living COPD FREE. Please folks get off drugs and help yourself by trying natural methods…

  • Edward S.

    I was diagnosed with COPD 5 years ago and was taking Spiriva and Advair plus nose sprays to slow down progression. My symptoms have always been shortness of breath, and dizziness. I am a 54 year old male. the Spiriva wasn’t really working and I could not tolerate them for long due to severe side effects, so this year our family doctor started me on Natural Herbal Gardens COPD Herbal mixture, We ordered their COPD herbal treatment after reading alot of positive reviews, i am happy to report with the help of Natural Herbal Garden natural herbs I have been able to reverse my symptoms using herbs, my symptoms totally declined over a 9 weeks use of the Natural Herbal Gardens COPD natural herbal formula. My COPD is totally reversed! Their official web page is naturalherbalgardens . c om After the herbal treatment I also finally was able to give up smoking after 20 years. I ‘m thankful to nature

  • Karem P.

    FORMULA

    Please don’t ignore, this post is real. My father was diagnosed With COPD this year. He had been a smoker since he was 25 years old and was about 65 years at diagnosis, So he had been smoking for about 40 years. We were so well educated about the damage smoking had done to his lungs and we know there is no cure to COPD, But thank GOD for leading us to BEST HEALTH HERBAL CENTRE. Best health herbal Centre is a Legit herbal Centre, They reversed my father COPD completely within 6 weeks. Their COPD herbal formula has No side effect and it works like a miracle. Please folks don’t hesitate to contact BEST HEALTH HERBAL CENTRE via ww w besthealthherbalcentre co m for proper and healthy life Thanks.

  • Karem P.

    FORMULA

    HERBAL

    Please don’t ignore, this post is real. My father was diagnosed With COPD this year. He had been a smoker since he was 25 years old and was about 65 years at diagnosis, So he had been smoking for about 40 years. We were so well educated about the damage smoking had done to his lungs and we know there is no cure to COPD, But thank GOD for leading us to BEST HEALTH HERBAL CENTRE. Best health herbal Centre is a Legit herbal Centre, They reversed my father COPD completely within 6 weeks. Their COPD herbal formula has No side effect and it works like a miracle. Please folks don’t hesitate to contact BEST HEALTH HERBAL CENTRE via ww w besthealthherbalcentre co m for proper and healthy life Thanks.

    Please don’t ignore, this post is real. My father was diagnosed With COPD this year. He had been a smoker since he was 25 years old and was about 65 years at diagnosis, So he had been smoking for about 40 years. We were so well educated about the damage smoking had done to his lungs and we know there is no cure to COPD, But thank GOD for leading us to BEST HEALTH HERBAL CENTRE. Best health herbal Centre is a Legit herbal Centre, They reversed my father COPD completely within 6 weeks. Their COPD herbal formula has No side effect and it works like a miracle. Please folks don’t hesitate to contact BEST HEALTH HERBAL CENTRE via ww w besthealthherbalcentre co m for proper and healthy life Thanks.

  • Chethan H.

    I have Mar-fans Syndrome which can cause early emphysema. I quit smoking 30 yrs ago but the damage was already done. I feel I definitely get treated differently because of the diagnosis of COPD, and have to fight to stay above the depression I feel because I know I helped short-end my life. I was living with a puffer every so often and then had heart surgery and became much worse as far as breathing goes. When I found out about herbal supplements then I found out many testimony about herbal health remedies foundation. after so many question about their herbs and how I will apply daly and after some weeks later I started see some improvement.

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