Stage III (Severe) COPD

In Stage III, symptoms of COPD increase and have a greater impact on quality of life. You may experience increased coughing with more mucus, more frequent disease exacerbations and increased fatigue. Most people with Stage III COPD have 30 to 49 percent of expected lung function. Other symptoms may include the following:

  • Edema (swelling) in the legs, feet and ankles
  • More frequent colds
  • Inability to breathe deeply
  • Chest tightness
  • Wheezing
  • Rapid breathing
  • Rapid heartbeat
  • Blue or gray-tinged fingernails
  • Trouble talking
  • Confusion and lack of alertness

In addition to the treatments for Stage I and Stage II COPD, you may also be prescribed oxygen therapy in which you breathe in supplemental oxygen through a mask or tubes.

Close management of the disease is critical at this stage. Many individuals have difficulty eating, which leads to weight loss, malnutrition and weakness that in turn worsen the effects of COPD.