COPD Influences, Exacerbated by Physical Inactivity

Regardless of disease progression, German researchers reported that physical activity decreases over time in patients with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), further worsening their condition.

Regardless of disease progression, German researchers reported that physical activity decreases over time in patients with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), further worsening their condition.

This cycle was uncovered in their study published in the American Journal of Respiratory and Critical Care Medicine, where the team measured physical activity, airflow obstruction, health status, exercise capacity, muscle mass, and systemic inflammation in 137 COPD and 26 chronic bronchitis patients for 3 years.

“Physical inactivity is associated with morbidity and mortality in COPD, but the association between objectively measured physical activity and other disease components over time has not been well studied,” the study lead author Benjamin Waschki, MD, of the Pulmonary Research Institute at LungenClinic in Grosshansdorf, Germany, explained in a press release.

From follow-up, the investigators reported that all COPD patients’ steps per day, total daily energy expenditure, and daily physical activity level (PAL) dropped 393, 76 kcal, and 0.04 per year, respectively.

In regards to PAL, the authors discovered this factor was associated with greater airflow obstruction and a larger impact of obstructive airway disease on overall health, daily life, and perceived well-being.

However, the researchers found no notable association between “physical inactivity and systemic inflammation over time.”

"Treatment guidelines call for regular physical activity for COPD patients at all levels of severity, and our study clearly supports this recommendation," Waschki recommended, as he believed routine exercise would be beneficial for their health and quality of life.

“Over time, physical activity substantially decreases across all severity stages of COPD, and this decline is paralleled by a worsening of lung function and health status,” the writers determined. “Sustained physical inactivity is associated with a progression of exercise intolerance and muscle depletion.”