Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) may cause abnormalities in patients’ muscular systems that affect the way they walk, according to recent research published in the journal of Respiratory Medicine.
In an effort to determine whether walking abnormalities are associated with COPD severity, researchers from the University of Nebraska and the University of Kentucky, examined data collected in the National Health and Nutritional Examination Survey (NHANES) to explore the association of COPD severity on gross walking abnormalities, including limping and shuffling. The date from the NHANES provides information from 31,000 people between the years 1988 and 1994. Logistic regression models were composed based on age, gender, body mass index (BMI) and smoking status as predictors of walking abnormalities and physical activity. The study looked specifically at the association of physical activity levels with COPD severity and walking abnormalities.
Researchers found that for patients between the ages of 40 and 90, there was a significant correlation between COPD severity and the risk of walking problems. Persons who with COPD had nearly double the risk of walking problems. Decreased physical activity was also significantly linked to all but mild levels of COPD, suggesting that disease severity can contribute to mechanical outcomes.
Researchers believe that the association between walking abnormalities and COPD may be due to the presence of physical inactivity in patients with COPD. Further, additional research should be conducted investigating more closely the mechanical outcomes of COPD patients.