What is the average life expectancy of COPD?

Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) is one of the leading causes of death worldwide, but the true prognosis for each individual patient is almost impossible to determine, as there are many individual factors. The average life expectancy of COPD can largely depend on whether or not the problems that caused the condition in the first place have been fixed. Many cases of this disease in the Western world are due to cigarette smoking, and those who continue to use tobacco after being diagnosed are much more likely to die from the disease.

There are four stages of COPD. Mild stages may not shorten life expectancy at all or only minimally if proper steps and treatment are taken right away. The more severe the condition, the less likely it is that a patient can expect to live a full life. There are several treatments available to extend the life expectancy of COPD, but how well they work will depend on how far the condition has progressed.

Patients with the milder form of the disease may only require dietary and fitness changes along with an inhaler in some cases. More severe cases may warrant the use of rapid-acting inhalers, oxygen, rehabilitation and, in some cases, a lung transplant as a last resort. Those who are still smoking and not taking steps to live a healthier lifestyle are generally not eligible for a lung transplant.

Whether or not a patient has access to medical care will also affect the COPD life expectancy of any individual patient. COPD is the fourth leading cause of death worldwide. In remote or developing areas, access to good medical care and treatment can be limited, and life expectancy from COPD is much shorter.

A patient's existing health conditions at the time of diagnosis will also play a role in COPD life expectancy. People with heart conditions, additional lung problems, cancer, or other illnesses have a much higher mortality rate than those without this condition. Even those who recover from other illnesses can be weakened in the process and immunities can be lowered. This can lead to a much more difficult time in treating COPD.

To increase the chances of living a full life, people with COPD should seek medical advice as soon as possible. They should also stop using tobacco and avoid smoky and other highly polluted areas. Additionally, all recommended treatments must be used exactly as directed for maximum benefit.

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