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What is the medical definition of end-stage lung disease?

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Quick Answer

End-stage lung disease occurs when a patient's lungs are no longer able to supply oxygen to the blood, according to TheFreeDictionary. More generally, "end stage" has replaced "terminal" in the medical lexicon, defined as the final phase of a progressive disease, states MedicineNet.

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Full Answer

While the term "end stage" seems dire, Healthline points out that it can be misleading. For example, patients with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, or COPD, face life-threatening impairments and experience severe impacts to their quality of life once they reach the final stage of the disease; however, they can also prolong their chances of survival through treatments, medication and lifestyle changes. Quitting smoking can be helpful even after the diagnosis. Although the damage cannot be repaired, it can be prevented from worsening or spreading.

Monitoring health during end-stage lung disease is crucial, according to Healthline. During end-stage chronic interstitial lung disease, the low oxygen content of the blood combines with rising pressures in the arteries and right ventricle to put patients at severe risk of heart attacks. To improve chances of survival, Healthline recommends being prepared for emergencies at all times.

Lung disease can refer to any number of disorders, states MedlinePlus. It often impairs people's ability to breathe and obtain sufficient amounts of oxygen to function. Many diseases cause breathing problems that, as the diseases progress, become respiratory failure.

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