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    The Stages of Emphysema -- and What to Expect

    The BODE Index

    This staging system measures how much emphysema impacts your daily life. It looks at four main areas:

    Body mass index (B). This describes how much body fat you have compared to your height and weight.

    Airflow limitation (O for obstruction). Your doctor can tell how damaged your lungs are by how well you do on pulmonary (lung) function tests.

    Breathlessness (D – doctors call it “dyspnea”). Your doctor will ask you a series of questions about how often you feel like you’re out of breath, and when.

    Exercise capacity (E). This measures how far you can walk in 6 minutes.

    Studies show that the BODE Index gives doctors a better idea about your outcome (what they call a “prognosis”) than FEV1. And they can use those findings to see how well you’ll respond to medications, lung rehab therapy, and other treatments.

    Emphysema gets worse over time, and it affects everyone differently. That means there’s no way doctors can know for sure who long you can expect to live if you have it.

    Your doctor will use information about the stage of your disease to come up with the best treatment plan for your special case.

    WebMD Medical Reference

    Reviewed by Lisa Bernstein, MD on November 21, 2016
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