are two staging protocols for COPD, the GOLD
Standard and the BODE
System. GOLD, which is the Global
Initiative for Chronic Obstructive Lung Disease, is the
most common however BODE
seems to be more accurate in dileneating the stages of COPD
because of the additional patient information it takes into
Prognosis and Life Expectancy
for COPD and emphysema patients has a lot to do with whether
they still smoke or not, how healthy their diet is, how long
they smoked and what age they started. Different people react
differently to the conventional treatments prescribed by doctors.
For that reason some people can survive much longer than others
utilizing these prescription medications even though none
of them were developed to stop the progress of emphysema and
COPD or cure the disease.
Function Test - Spirometry
thing that really irritated me was this Spirometry
test. It was not the test itself but how the doctor's
staff handled it. They performed the test and then brought
the results to my mother. Instead of the doctor presenting
the results to my mother they had some office girl telling
her that she now had the lungs of a 111 year old and essentially
that it was all her fault for having been a smoker.
noticed the results of this test did not do anything except
quantify some additional data regarding my mother's condition.
It did not however, change any of the treatment protocols.
thing it did that really got to me was that it made my mother
very depressed. They were so insistant in laying all the blame
on her for smoking.
we got home after that visit I started cooking something for
dinner. My mother would generally come in and see what was
cooking but this day she did not. I went in her room and found
her sitting on her bed with a long face. I asked her what
was wrong and she told me, "I can't believe I did
this to myself."
was the first and only time she ever said anything like this
but I think it stayed in the back of her mind that she was
getting what she deserved. I wanted to slap the office girl
that did this to my mother. It had not provided any help in
any way. Here again they were wonderful at quantifying parameters
related to my mother's emphysema and COPD. They just had no
idea what to do with the information.
came in a purple disk. It was to be used
twice a day and my mother did this without fail for over two
years. I found after researching this treatment that it contained
fluticasone, a steroid. Clicking the drug name above
provides the link to the Advair home page. There is a guide
at the bottom that provides some good information on this
drug if you decide to take it.
stopped providing the temporary relief it once had after my
mother had deteriorated down to End Stage Emphysema
or Stage IV Emphysema.
Pulmonary Specialist prescribed Spiriva™
at the same time he prescribed Advair™ and
Albuterol Sulfate nebulizer treatments. Using Spiriva™
involved putting the pill into the crusher and then inhaling
the powder that was inside the pill. I was happy to see this
treatment did not contain a steroid but it did contain bromide.
I knew that bromide toxicity could be an issue so I was still
concerned about this drug even though it did not contain a
sulfate was for use in the nebulizer. These treatments
took about 15 minutes and seemed to provide some welcomed
relief early on. After almost two years it stopped providing
any noticeable relief and my mother refused to use it which
stopped all nebulizer treatments. After a quick call to the
doctor we had a new prescription for DuoNeb™ which was
supposed to work better for her.
provided the relief albuterol sulfate had once provided.
Unfortunately, that relief was short-lived as well. Within
a few months the DuoNeb™ also stopped providing
the temporary relief it once had. After reading about DuoNeb™
I learned it also contained bromide.
the first two or so years the Combivent™
rescue inhaler helped my mother through numerous exacerbations
(shortness of breath episodes). This rescue inhaler would
generally last two weeks or so. As my mother's COPD progressed
the Combivent™ provided less and less relief.
two and a half years the Combivent™ would only
provide a tiny bit of relief and the entire contents of the
inhaler would only last about two hours. This was when my
mother was in End Stage Emphysema, weighed only 77
pounds and required 4 liters of supplemental oxygen 24/7 and
needed the relief more than ever!
seemed every medication and treatment, with the exception
of albuterol sulfate, contained either a steroid,
was a steroid or contained bromide, all of which
posed potential health hazards with continued use.
if you are to survive COPD you must use some additional treatment
or treatments. With this in mind, medical personnel continue
pushing the use of these drugs even though they provide nothing
more than a temporarily masking of symptoms.
COPD Treatments Summary
summary, the prescribed medications provided much needed "temporary
relief" but as soon as the drug wore off my mother
was right back where she was before taking the drug. There
were no permanent improvements.
doctor never discussed what my mother was to expect they just
did tests and scheduled her every 3 months until she deteriorated
down to End Stage Emphysema. Once she reached this
very scary level of decline the doctors began scheduling her
appointments in 6 month intervals not expecting to see her
were both shocked when she appeared after 6 months having
re-gained 8 of the 26 pounds she had lost and only requiring
3 liters of supplemental oxygen instead of 4 which she was
handling with no distress!
thing that amazed me was neither one of my mothers doctors
could believe that something other than the prescribed medications
had provided this improvement! I can only guess that they
had both been sufficiently brainwashed by the pharmaceutical
company reps into thinking the drugs worked.
reminds me of a saying by Mark Twain,
is easier to fool someone than to convince them they've been
doctors just could not believe that it was something other
than their drugs that had provided this improvement. I asked
the Pulmonary Specialist how many patients he had that were
suffering with COPD. He gave me the number, somewhere around
800, I believe. I then asked him how many of them were getting
better and showing permanent improvements. He was dumbfounded
so I said, "ONE! You have ONE patient that is getting
better and showing permanent improvements and she stopped
using the drugs one at a time in End Stage because they all
eventually stopped working!"