Early loss of lung function in COPD

Why is it important to optimise your patients' COPD treatment from the start?

There is new evidence that the rate of lung function decline is steepest in early COPD stages,1 which coincides with a significant reduction in activity.2,3

In addition, 50-60% of COPD patients treated with monotherapy continue to experience dyspnoea.4


Early loss of lung function

Adapted from Tantucci C, Modina D. Int J Chron Obstruct Pulmon Dis 2012;7:95-99.

The rate of lung function decline was once thought to accelerate as COPD progresses, leading to treatment following a step-wise pattern.5 More recent data has challenged this and has demonstrated that lung function declines most rapidly in early COPD, with the greatest decline in FEV1 occurring during GOLD 2.1 The resulting breathlessness can make routine tasks a challenge, even in early COPD.2


Decrease of activity

Optimising lung function from the start could help as activity levels decrease as lung function declines, and there is a dramatic decrease of activity following GOLD 2, leading to progressive inactivity. The rate of very inactive patients more than doubles from GOLD 2 to GOLD 3.3

Patient activity level by GOLD Stage

Adapted from Watz H, et al. Eur Respir J 2009;33:262-72. 

Taking action early in COPD therapy may help optimise lung function to keep patients engaged in their daily activities.6,7


Watch to learn more about understanding the changes in early stage COPD and how activity levels decrease with loss of lung function


  1. Tantucci C, Modina D. lnt J Chron Obstruct Pulmon Dis 2012; 7:95-99.
  2. O'Donnell DE, et al. PLoS ONE 2014; 9:e96574.
  3. Watz H, et al. Eur Respir J 2009; 33:262-72.
  4. Dransfield MT, et al. Prim Care Respi J 2011;20:46-53.
  5. Fletcher C, Peto R. Br Med J 1977;1(6077):1645-8.
  6. Ferguson GT, et al. Adv Ther. 2015;32:523-36 and supplementary information.
  7. Singh D, et al. Respir Res. 2016;17:73.