What Is the Life Expectancy of Someone With COPD?

Reviewed on 8/7/2020

What is chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD)?

Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) is a slowly progressive disease that causes symptoms such as breathlessness and cough.
Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) is a slowly progressive disease that causes symptoms such as breathlessness and cough.

Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) is a group of diseases with the chief symptom of breathlessness and cough. COPD is a slowly progressive disease and affects approximately 32 million Americans.

COPD leads to airflow obstruction due to the following reasons:

  • Tiny air sacs in the lungs that are responsible for oxygen transfer to the blood lose their capacity to stretch and shrink back.
  • The walls between many of the air sacs are damaged.
  • The walls of the airways become thick and inflamed. 
  • Oversecretion of the mucus blocks the airflow.

The diseases in the COPD spectrum are as follows:

What are the signs and symptoms of COPD?

In the initial stages of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), there may be no symptoms. Later, the following non-specific symptoms are seen:

When the disease progresses, the symptoms include:

Who is at a risk of getting COPD?

Patients with the following conditions are at a risk of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD):

Which tests do physicians use to diagnose COPD?

Physicians use the following methods and tests to diagnose chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD):

  • Taking a through history
  • History of tobacco smoking, occupational exposure to dust and chemicals
  • Information about exposure to air pollutants or history of any lung disease
  • Chest X-rays
  • Spirometry (lung function tests)
  • Computed tomography (CT) of the lungs
  • Measurement of the saturation level of oxygen in the blood with the help of arterial blood gas or a pulse oximeter

QUESTION

COPD (chronic obstructive pulmonary disease) is the same as adult-onset asthma. See Answer

How is COPD treated?

Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) management involves various therapies, which include:

Medications to treat COPD include the following:

Patients with severe COPD may require a surgery to remove the diseased portion of the lung or even lung transplantation.

What is the life expectancy of someone with COPD?

Depending on the disease severity, the five-year life expectancy for people with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) ranges from 40%-70%. That means 40-70 out of 100 people will be alive after five years of diagnosis of  COPD. 

COPD is a chronic, gradually progressing lung disease that is not completely curable. Timely medical treatments can slow the progression of this disease.

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