Determining Life Expectancy for COPD

COPD is one of the most common (top 3 killer in the US) and yet the most least understood conditions today. COPD covers two major respiratory diseases namely emphysema and chronic bronchitis. Both can have implications to the determination of COPD life expectancy. Although there are no definite time frame for the fate of COPD sufferers there seems to be a lot of factors that points to the life and death of people inflicted with the condition.

Before digging more into COPD life expectancy, let us learn more about the condition and the details surrounding its existence. Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease is a progressive respiratory disorder. Without the necessary lifestyle changes, it gets worse overtime and can finally lead to death for many people. But this does not have to be your reality. There is so much that can be done to slow down the debilitating effects of this condition. Most people that have this disease are smokers or those that lived with a smoker for a long time, exposing him/her to dangerous levels of passive smoke. Dust and severe air pollution can also lead to COPD.

What are the tell tale sign that you have this condition? Difficulty breathing is one of the most common symptoms. Even with minimal physical exertion you can easily get tired and seem to run out of air. A persistent cough can also be a sign of this condition and is commonly accompanied with fatigue and in worst cases, delirium. Anxiety and depression can also be experienced. In many ways COPD is a dreadful disease. There are many cases that are not diagnosed in the US simply because some do not show any symptoms at all. This makes COPD very dangerous creating the impression of low COPD life expectancy.

COPD Life Expectancy

How does the disease form and progress in the body? In cases of COPD-emphysema, the tiny air sacs called alveoli becomes impaired, with its walls collapsing and decreasing the lung’s ability to facilitate a healthy rate of gas exchange. This affects the respiratory system severely. In COPD-chronic bronchitis, the walls of the airway becomes rigid and thick with very high levels of mucus in the bronchial tubes and bronchioles. It is important to note though that majority of the COPD cases has emphysema and chronic bronchitis all at the same time making the condition more serious than many suspected. When critical interventions are not done on time, lung cancer is not a distant possibility. This too have significant implications to COPD life expectancy.

One of the most practical and effective ways to stop the deteriorating odds of COPD life expectancy is correcting unhealthy lifestyle practices. You might want to start exercising regularly and losing excess weight. You can start eating healthier foods and focus on fruits and vegetables that have neutralizing effects on toxins. Detoxification is a key component in improving your health in the midst of a COPD diagnosis. You need to quit smoking as soon as you can and make sure you remove other possible causes of COPD.

Doing these simple things can help you improve your COPD life expectancy. There are unfortunately no cure for this condition but there is ample evidence that lifestyle changes can have a direct impact on the body’s pursuit to recover and fight off the previously seen inevitable progression towards death.

Doctors are using the BODE index to point out, with a semblance of objectivity, the patient’s COPD life expectancy. This index has been very helpful in trimming down the guesswork in answering the “how-long-have-I-got” questions from people who have COPD. The index covers knowing the body mass index, airway obstruction, dyspnea, and exercise tolerance (with the six minutes walk test). The data from the tests for these key indicators are used to gauge the health of the body as a system.

COPD life expectancy must not be taken grimly. There are many sufferers who are told they only have 7 more months to live but end up enjoying life 5-10 years down the road. The important thing to realize is that doing your best to be healthy can improve your chances in fighting off the condition. Although this is not a guaranteed approach, it makes a lot of sense as many doctors also agree.

Posted in COPD Blog