Being diagnosed with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) can raise a great deal of questions and uncertainties. As there is currently no cure and the lung disease is progressive in nature, it is helpful to know what to expect over time.
This is where the GOLD grading system comes in. Developed by the Global Initiative for Chronic Obstructive Lung Disease, it distinguishes the different severities of the disease into the following four stages.
In stage one of COPD—where lung capacity is about 80 percent of normal—it’s possible that an individual may not yet know they have a problem, as symptoms may be so minor that they can often continue doing their day-to-day activities. And any breathing limitations they do experience are often attributed to other causes, such as smoker’s cough; therefore, they rarely seek treatment or quit smoking (the primary cause of the disease).
For those whose symptoms are more pronounced, VeryWell.com says “a persistent cough with the visible production of sputum (a mixture of saliva and mucus)” are commonly experienced.