There are four different stages of COPD, with each stage having a different severity level of COPD symptoms. In addition, each stage requires different treatments for COPD. Knowing the definitions COPD doctors use to describe the stages of COPD can help you in your diagnosis.
The first stage of COPD disease is known as the mild stage. In this stage a person may have a chronic cough which brings up mucus. Lung function is about 80% of normal to 100% of normal.
The second stage of COPD is the moderate stage. A person stage 2 COPD lung disease with have a chronic cough with large amounts of mucous. They will also experience occasional flare-ups and 50% to 79% of normal lung function.
Entering the third stage of COPD, or severe COPD, the patient is likely to have retain their chronic cough and shortness of breath, and also experience weight loss and repeated COPD flare-ups. Lung function during this stage is reduced to 30% to 49%.
The final stage of COPD, also known as very sever COPD, has the patient experiencing all of the previous symptoms, in addition to blue tinted skin, fluid buildup in the legs and feet, tightness in the belly, life threatening COPD flare-ups and lung function of less than 30%. This final stage of COPD can be very intense, and often entails the around the clock treatment COPD patients requires.