What are the signs and symptoms of end-stage COPD?
The signs and symptoms and severity depend on the stage of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), and they worsen during flare-ups. There are four stages of COPD:
- Stage I: Mild COPD
- Stage II: Moderate COPD
- Stage III: Severe COPD
- Stage IV: Very severe COPD (End stage)
Signs and symptoms of stage I:
Symptoms are mild and often missed, but damage to the lungs begins.
Patients may only present with constant shortness of breath on exertion.
Signs and symptoms of stage II:
Symptoms are more severe than stage I, and there a mild impact on the quality of life. Patients present with
- Persistent cough with mucus, which may be worse in the morning.
- Shortness of breath even with mild routine activity.
- Wheezing on exertion.
- Disturbed sleep.
Signs and symptoms of stage III:
Stage III has a bigger impact on the quality of life.
Symptoms in stage III worsen considerably. In addition to that, patients present with
- Frequent respiratory tract infections.
- Swelling of the ankles, feet, and legs.
- Tightness in the chest.
- Trouble taking a deep breath.
- Wheezing and other breathing issues when doing basic tasks.
Signs and symptoms of stage IV (end-stage COPD):
This is the final stage of COPD. This occurs after years of continuous damage to the lungs. Patients have worsened symptoms of stage III and frequent flare-ups that could be fatal. Patients have very poor quality of life.
Patients also present with
- Barrel-shaped chest.
- Constant wheezing.
- Being out of breath.
- Increased heart rate or heartbeat.
- Loss of appetite and weight.
- Increased blood pressure.