Stages of COPD

Hi could someone please explain the stages of Copd to me,my husband has been treated for 10 yrs,only has 21% of his lungs working!he also has 2 leaking heart valves,he is on ambulatry oxygen at 4 litres,he gave up smoking 12 yrs ago,he was a welder before he retired we have been going to the hospital since 2004 ,& seen his lung capacity really deteriorate during this time,but no one has ever in this time really explained the different stages,any in put greatly appreciated

19 Replies

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Regards Rib

Hi Rib thank you so much for the link,much appreciated

Have a good day


One thing I have noticed is if you just look at the % it does not always seem to tally with the person. We all deal with it differently and having a heart condition certainly does not help. Mine is tocking more than ticking and that does not help. The conundrum is which medicine fixes your SOB mine can affect the other condition if taken at the wrong time for the wrong reason.

PR might well be the way forward which is not that easy to start when you are SOB.

Be Well

You too,take care

Assume you mean 21% FEV1 Edwina. This is copd stage 4, stage 4 being anything below 30%, but it tends to be thought out-dated to just go by the FEV1.

The BODE index which includes the FEV1 is generally considered a better way of assessing how well you are and your prognosis.

B = body mass index

O = obstruction (as measured by FEV1 etc)

D = dyspnoea (breathlessness)

E = exercise ability, usually measured by the six minute walk test.

Has your husband been offered pulmonary rehabilitation? If you have queries which don't get answered here, do call the BLF helpline staffed by trained nurses. Click on red balloon at top right of this page for contact details.

Best to both of you :)

My GP etc uses the BODE method which is fine for people who do not have other health issues. If you cannot walk, you cant do the tests and cant get Pul Rehab. There are plenty of people who have any number of health problems that stop them Eg. heart condition which makes you exercise intolerant. Eg. being dependant on a wheelchair. Regards Rib

Wouldn't it depend on how far advanced heart problems and other co-morbitities have got? There is cardio rehab for people with heart problems, plenty at the PR I did too, plus some stage 4 copd patients. But i guess you're right - if you can't actually walk then the totality of the BODE index isn't going to work.

Presumably Edwina's husband can walk a bit as he's on ambulatory O2, so BODE would be relevant.

He can take a few steps,but gets so breathless,that is why he has the oxygen,both consultant & oxygen nurse ruled out exercise because he gets so breathless & considered it unsuitable,he does try to walk into the kitchen to make a drink for himself,but is so breathless he nearly collapses,so takes him nearly 15- 20 mins to get settled,that is why the exercise was ruled out,he has been a very active man in is youth,playing football,rugby,referring,golf,& crown green bowls,darts you name it & he played it now he can only watch these sports,

Thank you so much for your input

Hope you are keeping well,have a lovely day

Regards Edwina

So hard for him - and you.

Sending you very best wishes, take care of yourselves.

I did not mean this to be taking a cheap shot. It is just that these assumptions are continually made. Just as with ambulatory O2. I have mine fixed to my wheelchair. No walking is involved in its prescription. Plenty of people need their portable tanks while travelling in cars. Regards Rib

I never thought you were taking a cheap shot Rib.

I use ambulatory O2, not all the time but when walking is tough, but i hadn't thought about being in a wheelchair.

Guess Im not too clear what constitutes ambulatory O2 as opposed to just being on oxygen - does the term cover any activity that is moving around inside or out, whether in wheelchair or not?

My GP says it is just used for breathlessness. I imagine that if you are a wheelchair user, outdoors may make you breathless with pollution of various kinds, wind etc in the same way as I and others who walk experience it?

I hate it when people make assumptions about stuff that should be known, so any info gratefully received, thanks :)

Hello Edwina,I found that different hospitals have different ways of doing this.With my Fev at 19% I asked what stage I was considered To be at,they said "severe".However,somebody on this site with a higher Fev25% was "very severe" .So I think it,s all semantics and just go by how well you feel and don,t worry about the numbers.Don,t worry be happy,good luck!D.

Thanks Farmer,you to take care

When I ask what stage he is at,I'm told he is a very poorly man,take care & have a nice day

I went for a lung function test it was a locum nurse and a different way of doing the test old tests have been done by blowing 3 times in a tube but this time I was told to take 4 puffs of my blue inhaler through a spacer and it makes a difference I have now had all my meds changed

That's interesting. May I ask what they changed you from/to?


I used to have a steroid inhaler 2 puffs 3 times a day and a blue inhaler now I have spriva inhaler in the morning and salmeterol inhaler { lime green} two puffs twice a day and I also have a steroid tablets and antibiotics in the house in case of a flair up hope this helps

I gave up smoking 3 years ago as I blamed the smoking for angina. I no longer suffer from angina. No problems before, just a smokers cough. 6 weeks later I was diagnosed straight in with very severe emphysema, Stage 4. No 1,2 or 3 ! FEV1 of 24% then. Now 26%.

This disease is so individual to each person. I am on 1/2 litre /per min but I mainly use it at night. Most times I out without it and don't use it at work.

Exercise or keeping active is my policy.

Don't get sad, get angry and beat the damn thing !

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