What Are the Symptoms of End-Stage COPD?

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Symptoms of end-stage chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, or COPD, include breathlessness, fatigue, anxiety, pain and depression by order of prevalence, states Spathis and Booth in the International Journal of Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease. Sufferers of the life-threatening lung disease also experience insomnia, anorexia, constipation and psychological morbidity and have extensive end-of-life needs.

There are four different stages of COPD classified as mild, moderate, severe and very severe, explains Healthline. Doctors test lung function with a spirometer and then use the results to determine the severity of COPD, its impact on the patient’s health and the stage of COPD. The test does not accurately predict life expectancy, but it gives a general idea as to where the patient falls, such as stage four COPD, which features severe limitations on airflow and a severely impaired quality of life.

With end-stage COPD, sufferers can still take charge of the direction of their lives by working to improve their quality of life and prevent worsening of their condition, according to Healthline. For those in stage four COPD, the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute recommends that sufferers quit smoking, avoid lung irritants, manage their disease and symptoms and be prepared for any medical emergencies.