Chronic Obstructive Pulmonery Disease (COPD) accounts for numerous deaths in the United States. Smoking is the main cause of this incurable disease. A test called spirometry is used by doctors to determine the severity. The spirometry test measures breathing of patients. During the spirometry test, one has to breathe out hard in the given hose which is attached to a spirometer. Let us understand more about this ailment and the different COPD stages through this article.
Different Stages of COPD
Mild COPD - Stage I
It is the first stage in which the patient may or may not exhibit the symptoms of this disease. Airflow in the lungs is slightly affected and therefore, the patient may not realize it.
Moderate Cough - Stage II
The degree of obstruction of airflow in lungs increases a bit more. The patient generally experiences shortness of breath. Sputum and cough production increase along with the above mentioned problem. Due to increase in problems, patients go to the doctor for medical help.
Severe COPD - Stage III
In this stage, the shortness of breath increases. The airflow to lungs becomes even more limited. The other problem which starts to show up is the decrease in activity tolerance. In this problem, a person's ability to perform physical activity reduces as a result of decrease in oxygen supply to the body by lungs. This condition therefore, leads to fatigability where, a person's physical and mental strength decreases.
Very Severe COPD - Stage IV
It is the last stage in which the condition of patient becomes extremely bad. Due to severe limitation of airflow in lungs, the normal, day-to-day activities of patients are affected; their quality of life therefore, goes on decreasing. Patients suffer from chronic respiratory failure. Chronic respiratory failure aggravates the condition of patients, since it causes problems like 'cor pulmonale'. Blood pressure in the pulmonary artery increases and leads to a condition called cor pulmonale. The life expectancy depends on the severity of disease. Severity is calculated by means of the FEV1/FVC ratio.
The treatment is actually a long-term therapy. First of all, one has to stop smoking completely; the progression of the ailment is slowed to a great extent with this treatment measure. Undergoing a rehabilitation program is the next step. In order to clear the sputum off lungs, physiotherapy is used. Tolerance towards exercise is also developed by means of physiotherapy. Usage of a bronchodilator is recommended for patients with mild COPD; the bronchodilator is used when the need arises. Patients in the 2nd and 3rd stages would require glucocorticosteroids apart from the bronchodilator treatment.
The stages described in the article should help us understand the details associated with this disease. One should understand the COPD stages and primarily, get rid of the habit of smoking to prevent this disease in the future.
Disclaimer: This article is for informative purposes only, and should not be used as a replacement for expert medical advice.