COPD Patients Less Active, Which Can Worsen Outcomes

Study finds a 'vicious circle' where decline in exercise exacerbates the disease

WEDNESDAY, June 17, 2015 (HealthDay News) -- People with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) become less physically active, leading to further declines in their health, a new study shows.

Decreased physical activity results in worsening lung function and overall health. Sustained inactivity is also associated with progression of muscle loss and inability to exercise, the researchers said.

Their study of more than 130 people with COPD found that their physical activity decreased each year. The declines occurred regardless of the severity of their disease. Reduced physical activity was associated with an increase in breathing problems and decreases in overall health, quality of life and sense of well-being.

Long-term physical inactivity was associated with larger declines in muscle mass and in 6-minute walk distance results.

The study was published online recently in the American Journal of Respiratory and Critical Care Medicine.

"Treatment guidelines call for regular physical activity for COPD patients at all levels of severity, and our study clearly supports this recommendation. Regular exercise will improve their health and quality of life," study author Dr. Benjamin Waschki, of the Pulmonary Research Institute at LungenClinic in Grosshansdorf, Germany, said in a journal news release.

More information

The American Academy of Family Physicians has more about COPD.

Robert Preidt

Robert Preidt

Published on June 17, 2015

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