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What is the prognosis for COPD?

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Quick Answer

Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease is a lifelong disease that is easiest to manage if caught in its early stages. Although there is no cure for the disease, MedlinePlus says there are many things to do to prevent it from getting worse. Smoking is the primary cause of COPD, and after diagnosis with the disease, it is essential for the individual to stop smoking for the best prognosis.

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What is the prognosis for COPD?
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Full Answer

According to WebMD, the initial symptoms of COPD are frequent coughing and production of more mucus with the cough. A sufferer sometime notices a tightening in the chest, and his cough is disruptive to his sleep. Moderate exercise causes shortness of breath, and the individual is easily tired. Sufferers often attribute such changes to aging, but the only way to be sure is to talk with a doctor or lung specialist, especially if there is a history of smoking.

The American Lung Association recommends testing of individuals at risk for COPD using spirometry. This simple test of lung function measures the amount of air expelled from the lungs and the speed at which the patient expels it. If the results are abnormal, the doctor sometimes orders chest X-rays and arterial blood gas tests to confirm COPD. Once the doctor makes a diagnosis, he works with the patient to form a treatment plan. Following the plan is essential to the best prognosis when living with COPD.

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