- Understanding COPD
- COPD (Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease) Quiz
- Energizing COPD Diet Foods
- COPD (Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease) FAQs
- Patient Comments: Emphysema - Experience
- Patient Comments: Emphysema - Symptoms
- Patient Comments: Emphysema - Treatments
- Patient Comments: Emphysema - Diagnosis
- Patient Comments: Emphysema - Causes
- Patient Comments: Emphysema - Smoking
- Find a local Pulmonologist in your town
- Emphysema facts
- What is emphysema?
- What are the stages of emphysema?
- What causes emphysema?
- What are the risk factors for emphysema?
- What are the signs and symptoms of emphysema?
- How is emphysema diagnosed?
- What is the treatment for emphysema?
- Quitting smoking
- Emphysema medications
- Surgery for emphysema
- Pulmonary rehabilitation for emphysema
- What is the life expectancy and outlook for someone with emphysema?
Quick GuideCOPD Lung Symptoms, Diagnosis, Treatment
What is the life expectancy and outlook for someone with emphysema?
Emphysema is a disease that affects quality of life and not necessarily the quantity of life. The goal for treatment of emphysema is to prevent further lung damage, and to maximize the function of the remaining healthy lung tissue.
Symptoms of emphysema occur because the body is not being supplied with adequate oxygen, and because it takes significant effort to take deeper breaths. These both contribute to the very miserable sensation of constantly feeling short of breath.
There are no studies that have been able to predict mortality from emphysema, but studies from the American Lung Association and the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention report that 133,000 people died from COPD in 2009. The most recent National Health Interview Survey performed in 2011 found that 4.7 million people had been diagnosed with emphysema and that 24.1 million people had evidence of impaired lung function.
The BODE score can help measure quality of life and prognosis for future function.
- B = Body Mass Index (BMI).
- O = Obstruction. Lung function based on pulmonary function tests.
- D = Dyspnea (breathlessness)
- E = Exercise capacity. How far the emphysema patient can walk in 6 minutes
Neither the GOLD or BODE scores can predict longevity or mortality but are guidelines to assess the severity of emphysema and how it may affect future lifestyle.
Medically reviewed by James E. Gerace, MD; American Board of Internal Medicine with subspecialty in Pulmonary Disease
Albert, et al, Azithromycin for prevention of exacerbations of COPD, NEJM; 2011;365:689-698.
CDC.gov. Leading Causes of Death.
American Lung Association. Trends in COPD (Chronic Bronchitis and Emphysema): Morbidity and Mortality. March 2013.
Medscape. Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease Treatment & Management.