When people hear that they have Stage III or Stage IV or even worse, "end stage" COPD it's natural to become terrified! But the stages aren't the whole picture and Doctors shouldn't be telling anybody they're "end stage" or terminal.
"Exercise tolerance, weight, how short of breath you are, attitude and how you handle things all make a difference" in how your Disease will progress." All of these factors can be managed and improved by the patient changing the progression of COPD. If you need help building these skills I recommend that you go to Pulmonary Rehab. They will teach you what you need to know - but don't just go! Incorporate what you have learned into your lifestyle.
I walk 9000 steps a day, have on-target weight, use breathing techniques to regulate my breathing, and constantly work on my attitude. Guilt, shame and self-recrimination serve no purpose at all!
Another thing to keep in mind is that COPD is not a single disease. I have chronic bronchitis, emphysema, asthma and bronchiectasis. You may have some or all of these and other illnesses and in different proportions with an entirely different outcome say, on the 6 minute walk.
"The goals of COPD assessment are to determine the level of airflow limitation, the impact of disease on the patient's health status, and the risk of future events." But it is not meant to be nor can it be a prognosis of X Years of Life. The number one action that anybody with COPD can take to slow or even stop the progression of the disease is Quit Smoking! If you have already done that, pat yourself on the back!
You also have a decision to make about complying with your medical team by getting your vaccinations in a timely manner, taking your medications as prescribed, keeping your weight optimal with the recommended nutrition, using oxygen therapy if recommended and seeking medical attention the minute you notice signs of exacerbation.
Yes, it's a lot of work and attention to the details of your lifestyle but it is your Life and your lungs and you do have a lot to do with how your COPD progresses or God willing, not!
Don't be a victim! Be your own best advocate! Get smart and live long and prosper!