Victor Kim, MD: Addressing Comorbidities and Advancing COPD Care

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Data indicates that addressing mood disorders in patients not only improves mood symptoms but also demonstrates positive effects on certain cardiac events, suggesting benefits for both mental and physical well-being.

After leading "Beyond the Lung", which addressed the role of comorbidities in COPD at the American Thoracic Society (ATS) 2023 International Conference in Washington, DC, Victor Kim, MD, professor, Thoracic Medicine and Surgery, Lewis Katz School of Medicine at Temple University, joined HCPLive to share more insight on the topic.

The growing recognition of interconnectedness between the mind and body was apparent at the 2023 ATS conference, and those in medical research acknowledged that treating one aspect can positively impact the other.

"There's interesting data that improvement in mood disorders in those with cardiac conditions–a great number of studies, actually–have been, as translated to not only improvement in mood symptoms but also to some cardiac events," Kim said. "That suggests that these participants had benefits of both mental and physical symptoms."

Kim also referenced evidence of existing associations between depression, anxiety, asthma, and COPD, and the need to identify these comorbidities by carefully distinguishing them from physical symptoms for optimum treatment outcomes.

"What's most exciting is a growing recognition that treatment of mood disorders appropriately, whether that be with medicine or psychotherapy, has the potential for impacting patients' quality of life from a physical and mental standpoint," he said.

However, it's not only comorbidities of depression and anxiety that affect patients with COPD, cardiac comorbidities are also seen frequently in this population. Because COPD is so prevalent, Kim has been excited that he and his colleagues have experienced progress in treatment similar to those of his cardiology colleagues.

"A great goal would be helping clinicians identify the populations a little bit better and to identify other issues that are definitely pertinent to your care as a pulmonologist and obviously, for the comprehensive care for the patient," Kim explained.

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