COPD Stage 4
About this stage in the disease process
About COPD Stage 4
Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) is a progressive disease that typically increases in severity over time. COPD Stage 4 is the most severe stage in the disease’s progression. This stage is also called very severe COPD, or end-stage COPD.
Lung Capacity in COPD Stage 4
A major sign that a person has COPD is the capacity of his or her lungs is decreased. Due to constant inflammation of the airways, COPD patients struggle to breathe properly. They have difficulty blowing out air with any force, and the overall volume of air they can hold in their lungs is diminished. When measuring lung capacity, a common measurement is a combination of the forced expiratory volume (FEV1) and forced vital capacity (FVC) tests called the FEV1/FVC ratio. A healthy person has a FEV1/FVC ratio of or around 80 percent. Thus the lower the FEV1/FVC ratio the more significant the disease.
COPD Stage 4 is categorized by a FEV1 test score that is lower than 30 percent. If they also have chronic respiratory failure, patients with as much as 50 percent FEV1/FVC ratio may develop COPD Stage 4.
Symptoms of COPD Stage 4 are:
- Chronic coughing
- Sputum: coughing up mucus
- Dyspnea: breathing discomfort
- Cyanosis: blueness of the lips or fingernail beds
- Shortness of breath
- Chest tightness
- Unintended weight loss
- Frequent respiratory infections
- Chronic respiratory failure
Treatment of COPD Stage 4
There is no cure for COPD Stage 4, but the following treatments can help manage the disease:
- Short-acting bronchodilator
- Long-acting bronchodilator
- Long-term oxygen
- Smoking cessation and monitoring environment to reduce airborne particles
- Pulmonary rehabilitation class