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How does your doctor know which stage of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) you are in?

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Your doctor has a few ways to decide which stage your disease is in. She'll use a test called spirometry to measure how much air your lungs can take in, or your lung capacity. She may also take X-rays of your chest or do a blood test to measure how much oxygen is getting into your lungs.

Your doctor also looks at other symptoms (like shortness of breath), how strong your lungs are, and your overall quality of life to find out the stage. Most people have about half of their normal lung capacity by the time they get diagnosed.

SOURCES:

Albert Rizzo, MD, chief of pulmonary and critical care medicine, Christiana Care Health System, Wilmington, DE.                                                                    

American Lung Association: “COPD: Symptoms, Diagnosis and Treatment,” “COPD Treatment Options,” “Managing Your COPD Medications,” “Palliative Care and COPD.”

Global Initiative for Chronic Obstructive Lung Disease: “Pocket Guide to COPD Diagnosis, Management, and Prevention.”

National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute: “What Is COPD?” “How Is COPD Treated?”

Reviewed by Neha Pathak on June 16, 2017

SOURCES:

Albert Rizzo, MD, chief of pulmonary and critical care medicine, Christiana Care Health System, Wilmington, DE.                                                                    

American Lung Association: “COPD: Symptoms, Diagnosis and Treatment,” “COPD Treatment Options,” “Managing Your COPD Medications,” “Palliative Care and COPD.”

Global Initiative for Chronic Obstructive Lung Disease: “Pocket Guide to COPD Diagnosis, Management, and Prevention.”

National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute: “What Is COPD?” “How Is COPD Treated?”

Reviewed by Neha Pathak on June 16, 2017

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How is chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) treated?

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