What Is the Life Expectancy for Someone with COPD?

Ask a Doctor

I have chronic obstructive pulmonary disorder. I’m learning more about COPD from my doctor and the existing literature, but I can’t nail down my prognosis. What is the survival rate for COPD?

Doctor’s Response

Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) is a chronic, progressive lung disease that is not curable. Medical treatments can slow the progression of the illness and improve quality of life.

Life expectancy for many diseases is often expressed as a 5-year survival rate (the percent of patients who will be alive 5 years after diagnosis). The 5-year life expectancy for people with COPD ranges from 40% to 70%, depending on disease severity. This means that 5 years after diagnosis 40 to 70 out of 100 people will be alive. For severe COPD, the 2-year survival rate is just 50%.

Donna M. Goodridge, RN, PhD. COPD as a Life-Limiting Illness: Implications for Advanced Practice Nurses. Medscape. 2 January 2019 .