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COPD (Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease)

3rd stage emphysema

09/22/2008

Question:

My sister has just been told she is in 3rd stage emphysema what are the actual stages and what can she expect in the 3rd?

Answer:

When people talk about the stages of emphysema or COPD, they often refer to the "GOLD" guidelines. That is the Global Initiative for Chronic Obstructive Lung Disease. According to these guidelines there are 4 stages which are based on lung function parameters.

People in stage 1 have only mild impairment of lung function; people in stage have very severe lung function abnormalities. Individuals who are in Stage 3 have lung function anywhere from 30-50% of what would be considered normal for someone of the same sex, age and height. Depending on where your sister is in Stage 3, she could have minimal respiratory symptoms or she could have fairly severe shortness of breath. If she is no longer smoking she could have stable lung function and respiratory symptoms for a prolonged period of time.

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Response by:

Mahasti   Rittinger, RRT Mahasti Rittinger, RRT
Clinical Program Manager of Pulmonary, Allergy, Critical Care & Sleep
College of Medicine
The Ohio State University