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COPD (Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease)

COPD - Life Expectancy




My mother-in-law was recently diagnosed with COPD (Chronic Bronchitis type), and was told "her lungs were functioning at 1/3 capability. (I presume this equates to a 33.33% FEV1 rate? She has a consistent cough, coughs up plegm, gets short of breath walking about a half a block, and has a greyish look to her skin. She sometimes appears "slightly" confused, but just enough to notice a difference. She is not on oxygen yet, but is on albutarol, Spireva, and Advair treatments. Plus, she goes to Plumonary Rehabilitation 2-3 times per week. Can you give me an idea of what "stage" she might be in and what the associated life expectancy is with that stage ?


If your mother-in-law's FEV1 is 33% of predicted, this would put her in Stage III COPD. There are four COPD stages with Stage IV the most advanced. It is difficult to predict her life-expectancy, however, without more information.

Although it is not possible to provide specific predictions in a forum such as this, you may find the following guidelines helpful in knowing what to expect.

Please accept our best wishes.

Emphysema: Stages and Life Expectancy

For more information:

Go to the COPD (Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease) health topic, where you can:

Response by:

Phillip T Diaz, MD Phillip T Diaz, MD
Professor of Pulmonary, Allergy, Critical Care & Sleep Medicine
College of Medicine
The Ohio State University