If you’re one of the 12 million Americans diagnosed with COPD (chronic obstructive pulmonary disease), you’re at a turning point.
Though you're facing a life-threatening lung disease, knowing that you have it means you can start taking action. That puts you ahead of another 12 million Americans who don't yet know they may have COPD.
"We have no cure, no treatments that will stop progression or reverse the condition," says James Kiley, PhD, director of the lung-disease division of the National...
Many people with COPD have attacks called
"egg-ZASS-er-BAY-shuns"). This is when your usual symptoms
quickly get worse and stay worse. A COPD flare-up can be dangerous, and you may
have to go to the hospital.
The stages of COPD
are often defined according to your symptoms plus a measure of how well your
lungs work, called your "lung function."
In the following
lung function FEV1 is a test result that shows how fast you can breathe air
out of your lungs. FEV1 stands for forced
expiratory volume in
FEV1 can be measured by machines
spirometers (say "spy-RAW-muh-terz"). The test result
is reported as a percentage of normal. In other words, an FEV1 of 100% means
the lungs are working normally; 80% is less than normal; 30% is very much less
Here is how the stages of COPD are described by the
Global Initiative for Chronic Obstructive Lung Disease, also known as
Mild COPD (stage 1)
Usually, but not always, a chronic cough that often brings up
mucus from the lungs