What Are the 4 Stages of COPD?

The Hyfe Mind


February 26, 2021
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COPD, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, is a group of diseases causing an inflammatory reaction and permanent damage to the patient’s lungs. Unless you are a medical professional or know someone with the disease, it’s unlikely you’ll know what are the 4 stages of COPD. Read on to find out.

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What Are the 4 Stages of COPD? Stage 1

The first stage of COPD is Mild; you probably won’t even notice any of the symptoms during this stage as they are very similar to the symptoms of other common diseases such as a cold and allergy. In the first stage, your lung functions will be working at 80%, and you will likely develop a wet cough, which produces an excessive amount of mucus and phlegm.

Normally, you will be unaware of COPD’s development in this stage, but in many cases, you need to be careful and keep a close eye on your health, especially smokers.

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COPD Stage 2

The second stage of COPD is Moderate. During this stage, the symptoms will become too persistent in staying unnoticed as your lungs are only functioning at about 50 to 79 % of their average capacity.

In addition, the symptoms will continue to worsen over time, and your cough will become chronic, mucus and phlegm will be harder to expel, you may experience insomnia or trouble sleeping. Your airways could become inflamed and constricted, resulting in shortness of breath on a more regular basis; even small activities like walking up and down the stair will make it harder to breathe.

As your lungs are working harder than usual to keep up with the normal blood oxygen levels, you will be more likely to experience fatigue.

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COPD Stage 3

The next stage is Severe. During the third stage, your lungs are only working 30 to 49 % of the normal lung capacity. You will also experience exacerbations, additional respiratory infections, colds, bronchitis, and pneumonia, along with all the previous symptoms. Other symptoms may include:

  • Lips and fingernails turning blue
  • Edema (swelling ankles or feet) from a high level of stress on the heart
  • Decreased mental alertness
  • Inability to breathe deeply
  • Higher heartbeat and breathing rate

As a result, this will profoundly impact your daily activities and decrease your quality of life.

A man coughing severely

COPD Stage 4

The final stage and the worst of all the four stages of COPD is Very Severe. This includes all the previous symptoms, but they are at their worst even when you’re resting.
Besides the previous symptoms, patients may also experience:

  • Drowsiness
  • Chest pain
  • Chronic respiratory failure
  • Depression
  • Barrel chest (when lungs over inflate)
  • Crackling sounds when breathing

This is often known as the “end-stage COPD,” but the name can be a little dramatic. Many patients with stage four COPD can live for years with the symptoms if they stick to the treatment and implement lifestyle changes.

Though there is currently no cure for COPD, it can be effectively handled if you have a proper treatment plan and stick to it. Nevertheless, one of the best ways to prevent getting COPD is to have a healthy lifestyle and daily routines. This means no smoking, having a healthy diet, exercise regularly, and avoid lung irritants. If your symptoms get worse, you need to seek help from healthcare professionals.

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