What Are the Last Stages of COPD

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Stage III and Stage IV are classified as the last stages of COPD, also referred to as severe and end-stage COPD. Of the four stages of COPD, these phases include the most severe symptoms, need the most progressive treatments and can be life-threatening.

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COPD is the acronym for chronic obstructive pulmonary disease. It is caused by long-term exposure to lung irritants to include cigarette smoking, air pollution, chemical fumes and dust.

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Symptoms of the last stages of COPD include wheezing, shortness of breath, fatigue, tightening of the chest and coughing, which produces mucus.

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In Stage III, symptoms of shortness of breath increase under exertion (walking fast and exercising). Airflow is decreased during breathing test (spirometry) and medical attention is required.

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Stage IV causes shortness of breath with just limited physical activity. This stage may cause respiratory failure and/or right-sided heart failure symptoms. Conditions at this stage may be life-threatening.

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Currently there is no cure for COPD, treating symptoms is the main focus. COPD treatment options may include smoking cessation, bronchodilators, steroids, pulmonary rehabilitation, oxygen therapy and surgery.

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