Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) is a serious disease and the fourth leading cause of death in the United States. When diagnosed early, mild COPD can be managed and symptoms may not interfere with daily life. Advanced and end-stage COPD, however, can have a serious impact on your daily life. Difficulty breathing may prevent or hinder your ability to engage in daily activities. For example, you may need to live on the first floor of your home rather than walk up and down stairs. You may also find eating a large meal difficult and even struggle to bend down and tie your shoes. During periods of exacerbation, you may need assistance breathing from a mechanical ventilator, and may even become permanently dependent on a ventilator. In advanced cases, COPD may ultimately lead to complications resulting in death.