End-stage pulmonary disease is a medical term that refers to the most severe stage of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, states Healthline. People who live with this level of disease typically have severe issues with breathlessness and exercise intolerance, frequent symptom flare-ups and a diminished quality of life.
End-stage pulmonary disease does not mean that a person is near death or that he is likely to die from his disease, Healthline explains. Research indicates that even people with severely impaired lung function benefit from proper care and self-management techniques, such as quitting smoking, avoiding lung irritants and being prepared for the times when their symptoms get worse. Pulmonary rehabilitation, a medically supervised program of exercise, education and therapy for people living with COPD, has also been shown to improve quality of life for many people, reports the Respiratory Health Association.
COPD flare-ups tend to occur more frequently in people who have had the disease for a long time, states WebMD. They are often the result of a respiratory tract infection or increased air pollution. These flare-ups typically cause increased mucus production and narrowing of the airways, which results in increased coughing, wheezing and shortness of breath. Flare-ups are one of the major causes of death in people with COPD, explains American Family Physician. The patient usually requires hospitalization, and he may require mechanical ventilation if his breathing is severely impaired. Other treatment options include bronchodilators, oxygen, antibiotics and corticosteroids.