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Prognosis of COPD

Prognosis of COPD: Variable. Good prognosis depends on early diagnosis (i.e. on extent of lung damage). ...see also Overview of COPD

Deaths and Mortality Rates

Deaths from COPD: 124,181 annual deaths; 5.2% of deaths (CDC/1999).

Cause of death rank: 5th top cause of death in 1999 is "Chronic Lower Respiratory Disease" (CDC)

Estimated mortality rate for COPD from prevalence and deaths statistics:

  • Deaths: 124,181 (USA annual deaths calculated from this data: 124,181 annual deaths; 5.2% of deaths (CDC/1999).)
  • Incidence: 13,500,000 (USA prevalence calculated from this data: 13.5 million Americans (NHLBI)
  • 0.92% (ratio of deaths to prevalence).
  • See also Deaths and COPD and Overview of COPD.


Complications of COPD may include:

Complications of COPD from the Diseases Database include:

Source: Diseases Database

See also complications of COPD.

Prognosis of COPD Discussion

Course of COPD: NHLBI (Excerpt)

Most patients with COPD have some degree of reversible airways obstruction. It is therefore likely that, at first, treatment will lead to some improvement or stability in lung function. But as COPD progresses, almost all signs and symptoms except cough and sputum production tend to show a gradual worsening. This trend can show fluctuations, but over the course of 4 or 5 years, a slow deterioration becomes evident.

Repeated bouts of increased cough and sputum production disable most patients and recovery from coughing attacks may take a long time. Patients with severe lung damage sleep in a semi-sitting position because they are unable to breathe when they lie down. They often complain that they awaken during the night feeling "choked-up," and they need to sit up to cough.

Survival of patients with COPD is closely related to the level of their lung function when they are diagnosed and the rate at which they lose this function. Overall, the median survival is about 10 years for patients with COPD who have lost approximately two-thirds of their normally expected lung function at diagnosis. (Source: excerpt from Course of COPD: NHLBI)

What is COPD: NHLBI (Excerpt)

COPD gets gradually worse over time. At first there may be only a mild shortness of breath and occasional coughing. Then a chronic cough develops with clear, colorless sputum. As the disease progresses, the cough becomes more frequent and more and more effort is needed to get air into and out of the lungs. In later stages of the disease, the heart may be affected. Eventually death occurs when the function of the lungs and heart is no longer adequate to deliver oxygen to the body's organs and tissues. (Source: excerpt from What is COPD: NHLBI)

Death Statistics for COPD

The following are statistics from various sources about deaths related to COPD:

  • Caused 6,114 deaths from "COPD and allied conditions" in Australia in 1988 (Australian Bureau of Statistics, 2002)
  • Caused 3,628 male deaths from "COPD and allied conditions" in Australia in 1988 (Australian Bureau of Statistics, 2002)
  • Caused 2,486 female deaths from "COPD and allied conditions" in Australia in 1988 (Australian Bureau of Statistics, 2002)
  • 4.8% of all deaths from "COPD and allied conditions" in Australia in 1988 (Australian Bureau of Statistics, 2002)
  • 4,039 African American male deaths in America 1998 (CBCF Health Organisation, 2004)
  • 3,166 African American female deaths in America 1998 (CBCF Health Organisation, 2004)
  • 52,128 deaths from COPD in women in the US ((The National Womenís Health Information Center, CDC)
  • more death statistics...»

COPD: Research More

About prognosis:

The 'prognosis' of COPD usually refers to the likely outcome of COPD. The prognosis of COPD may include the duration of COPD, chances of complications of COPD, probable outcomes, prospects for recovery, recovery period for COPD, survival rates, death rates, and other outcome possibilities in the overall prognosis of COPD. Naturally, such forecast issues are by their nature unpredictable.


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