What are the 4 stages of COPD
Symptoms of COPD or as known as the chronic obstructive pulmonary disease can vary greatly depending on the amount of damage to the lungs. Symptoms are sometimes even vague with other common illnesses so you do not realize it until the disease is getting worse. Therefore, what are the symptoms?
Common COPD symptoms
COPD according to WHO, is a life-threatening lung disease that interferes with normal breathing. Around more than 3 million people died from COPD in 2012, which is equivalent to 6% of all deaths globally that year. More than 90% of COPD deaths occur in low and middle-income countries. Knowing the symptoms of COPD early can help you prevent further damage to your body.
- Chronic cough
One common symptom of COPD is cough. Coughing is a way for the body to clear its airways, phlegm in the lungs, other irritants, and also secretions. Mucus is usually clear; however, in people with COPD, mucus can be yellow. Coughing is often very severe in the morning and you can cough more when you exercise or smoke.
When you exhale through a narrow or blocked airway, you will often hear a whistling sound called wheezing. In people with COPD, wheezing is most often caused by excess mucus that blocks the airways. Wheezing does not always mean that you have COPD. Wheezing is also a symptom of asthma and pneumonia.
- Shortness of Breath (Dyspnea)
As the airways in your lungs become inflamed, damaged, and begin to constrict, you can have difficulty breathing. Symptoms of COPD can be seen clearly during increased physical activity. These symptoms can make routine daily activities, such as walking, doing simple house chores, changing clothes, or bathing, more difficult. At worst, shortness of breath can occur even when you are resting.
If you have difficulty breathing, you cannot get enough oxygen for your blood and muscles. Without oxygen needed, bodily functions will slow down and fatigue occurs. You can also be exhausted because your lungs work harder to supply oxygen and remove carbon dioxide, so you run out of energy.
- Frequent respiratory infections
Because sufferers of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease have difficulty in cleaning the lungs of bacteria, viruses, pollutants, dust, and other substances that cause inflammation, they are at higher risk of lung infections, such as colds, flu, and pneumonia.
For people with COPD, avoiding the risk of respiratory infections will certainly be more difficult. For this reason, one thing that can be done to minimize the risk is to carry out vaccinations and keep the surrounding environment clean.
If you often experience respiratory problems or infections and do not heal, but doubt whether you have COPD or not, you should immediately consult a doctor to get clarity.
This disease that attacks the lungs is a disease that causes permanent damage to the tissues in the lungs. Before it gets worse, recognize the stages of COPD disease so you can get the right treatment.
Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease has four stages, ranging from mild to very severe. At each stage, COPD symptoms are different. Pulmonary function test results will also be different at each stage. Usually, the performance of pulmonary function tests will decrease as the COPD stage gets worse.
- Stage 1
Stage 1 COPD has mild symptoms, such as shortness of breath. Although shortness of breath occurs, the level is fairly mild. At this stage sometimes there is a chronic cough and sputum production, but this is not always the case. Because it is fairly mild, many people who are in stage 1 tend not to realize that the function of their lungs is starting to be abnormal.
- Stage 2
At this stage, the airflow limitations become worse. If at stage 1 shortness of breath does not occur very often, at this stage you will experience shortness of breath more often. Most commonly, shortness of breath occurs when doing activities. The patient may start going to the doctor for symptoms of breathing problems that do not go away (chronic respiratory symptoms) or their illness that feels worse.
- Stage 3
This stage is also known as a severe stage. The airflow in your body will be even worse than before. At stage 3, you will have more severe COPD symptoms, such as shortness of breath which becomes increasingly severe, decreased the ability to exercise, inflammation and other symptoms that recur and get worse that tend to affect the quality of life of the patients.
- Stage 4
This is the worst stage of COPD and causes a significant decrease in quality of life due to shortness of breath. Difficulty in breathing experienced by COPD patients can even be life-threatening in some cases.