If you or anyone you know are suffering from emphysema, you already know the toll it can take on your body and how difficult it can be to exercise, especially for long periods of time. But what if there was an implant device that would help you to increase your exercise level and decrease your symptoms of emphysema? Now, it’s possible.
In a recent study conducted at 10 university hospitals in France, it was found that individuals suffering from emphysema and other inflammatory lung diseases can partake in a “minimally invasive surgical intervention that could lead to significant improvements in exercise capacity. This technique involves fitting lungs with bilateral coils using an endoscope.”
This new form of precision medicine hopes to improve efficiency of technologic intervention and could serve to translate into greater cost-effectiveness for the treatment of emphysema.
With an estimated 4.1 million people in the United States living with emphysema, this treatment could prove to be a promising solution for those individuals looking to maintain a healthy, active lifestyle, while managing their symptoms without the use of medications.
The results of the study found that “patients in the coil group experienced substantial decreases in lung hyperinflation and improvements in quality of life.” The downside, however, is the current cost of the procedure, with patients in the coil group averaging “$47,908 more than the usual care group” in treatment cost. This increased cost does not mean that the treatment is not realistic though, as technology improves, study authors suspect that the cost will decrease and become more affordable.
For those living with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), breathing is often cumbersome and labor-intensive. Even the most menial of activities can become difficult, but a traditional Chinese breathing exercise could make breathing that much easier.
Practiced by over 100 million people in China, the traditional Chinese breathing exercise, known as liuzijue qigong (LQG), uses a meditative movement of patterned exercise to create a state of “zen”. Much like yoga, a group of meditative movements popular in the U.S., LQG is helping people to improve and stabilize their breathing.
In a recent study conducted in Beijing, China, researchers used “126 COPD patients, aged between 65 and 85 years old to undergo a 45-minute LQG program, 4 times a week, along with daily walking for 30 minutes for 6 months”. Another group of participants (the control group) were instructed to only walk daily for 30 minutes.
The researchers found that “the LQG group exhibited significant improvements in their lung function, general health, mental health, and quality of life at the end of 6 months, compared to the COPD patients in the control group at only walked for 30 minutes a day”. The findings suggest that this traditional form of meditation and exercise may be greatly beneficial in rehabilitating older COPD patients, and may be used as a favorable alternative to regular exercise routines.
For those in the U.S. unfamiliar with LQG, yoga can be a similar alternative, although the results of the study did not test the results yoga has on COPD patients. To read the full study and learn more about LQG exercises. click here.
The study, which examined the physical activity of more than 500 ambulatory clinic patients being treated for COPD, found that patients who had regular walking regimens between roughly two and four miles daily were half as likely to be hospitalized as those who did not walk regularly. These findings were calculated based on self-reported exercise totals from participants, the compared to data on hospitalization records. Patients’ activity was tracked for at least two years.
This study further confirms the importance of physical activity for people living with COPD and chronic lung conditions such as emphysema. While regular exercise may seem like a daunting task, slowly working up to a moderate level of activity can have positive long-term benefits. For those who find this difficult, walking with a family member or pet may prove helpful, as this will provide individuals with the motivation they need to complete their daily exercise goals.
"Of course, daily walking acts to improve the exercise capacity of these patients," said study author Dr. Cristobal Esteban, a staff member in the respiratory service at Hospital Galdakao-Usansolo in Spain, in an article published by Health Day. "Physical activity is a 'medicine' that will improve your general condition as well as COPD."
A pilot-study of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) patients who meet the definition of homebound has found that just two months of aerobic conditioning and functional strength training can produce measurable improvements in quality of life. As defined by Medicare, homebound includes any person who is unable to leave the home without the help of an assistive device or another person. The study found that the greatest improvements in quality of life were seen in dyspnea and depression.
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.
With the diagnosis of CPOD and associated breathing troubles, many patients often find that it is much more difficult to lead an active life. Difficulties with completely exhaling often mean the inability to stay active and physically fit.
Now, however, a series of studies from the Norwegian University of Science and Technology (NTNU) suggests that improving a patient’s overall fitness may actually improve their quality of life. Their solutions: additional oxygen during exercise or cycling on a stationary bicycle using just one leg at a time.
During exercise, the muscles place a demand on the lungs for oxygen, which in any other training environment would mean a positive workout. For COPD patients, however, the lungs may have such a difficult time providing the oxygen they need that the oxygen saturation in their blood may drop below 88%. By providing these patients with extra oxygen while they exercise, this crisis is averted and physical fitness can be achieved.
Participants in one study, who were given extra oxygen during exercise, demonstrated a 20% improvement in cardiovascular fitness after just 24 high-intensity training sessions. They also reported that their quality of life improved by 24% in terms of physical health status, and 35% in terms of mental health status.
By improving their fitness, COPD patients used less of their maximum capacity. That, in turn, made training less of an effort. Further, because the effort required to breathe was reduced, patients were less limited overall by CPOD.
For patients without access to oxygen during exercise, riding the bicycle one leg at a time is another solution. This approach maximizes the supply of oxygen to the muscles, while minimizing the effects of reduced lung capacity, essentially enabling the load on each leg to be increased without increasing the work the lungs must do. The results: a 12% increase in whole body fitness and 23% increase in workout rate.
Ultimately, by improving fitness levels, COPD patients are better able to participate in social life and perform everyday tasks. As a result, quality of life is improved. Full Story
People with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) may benefit from exercising with Nintendo’s Wii Fit video game, according to a recent study out of the University of Connecticut Health Center. That is because the video game may make working out more enjoyable for COPD patients and thus encourage the type of physical activities that help people with breathing problems.
Wii Fit, which has been marketed by Nintendo as a mixture of fitness and fun, allows users to view images on the television while standing on a sensitive board that sends electronic signals to the game console. The game offers exercises similar to those available in traditional rehabilitation centers; regular exercise using the game may increase COPD patients’ overall muscle tone and improve cardiopulmonary fitness.
The study examined five volunteers with stable COPD. Before exercising with the Wii, researchers performed tests to examine their top workloads and heart rates, plus oxygen consumption levels and other respiratory factors. Patients were then asked to run in place, do some upper arm exercises, step in place and maneuver on an obstacle course. Each exercise was done for three to five minutes, and then the researchers retested the patients.
When tested by researchers after the exercise routine, patient heart rate was at 71% of the maximum predicted value, while patient oxygen consumption was at 86% of the maximum predicted value. These numbers are strong considering most exercise programs aim to achieve between 60% and 80% of values to be safe and effective.
“Our study showed that COPD patients exercised at a relatively high percent of their maximum during three to five minutes of specified Wii Fit exercises, indicating the Wii Fit may be a reasonable home-based exercise regimen for COPD patients,” Jeffrey Albores, MD, of the University of Connecticut Health Center, said in a news release.
While results of the study are encouraging, researchers believe more research is needed to determine if Wii Fit increases a patient’s willingness to perform regular workouts at home.
A drop in walking speed may signal a decline in overall health for patients with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), according a recent study presented at the 2011 American Thoracic Society International Conference in Denver. The study, which examined 2,110 patients, found that people with moderate to severe COPD who couldn’t walk at least 357 meters in six minutes were at higher risk for hospitalization.
Doctors typically use the six-minute walk test to see if a heart or lung disease patient has improved on a given therapy. Several studies have suggested that the distance a patient can walk in six minutes may be an important indicator of overall health. While less is known about where the danger zones may lie for people who take the test, this study suggests that participants who couldn’t walk at least 334 meters within the timeframe were at increased risk of death over the three-year study period.
However, experts who were not involved with the research say that patients and doctors shouldn’t be too concerned with specific distances. Others believe that the importance of this study is not necessarily the distance one can walk; rather it is a reminder that COPD is a systemic disease and affects health beyond the lungs. Patients in the study, who were mostly men in their 60s, saw a steady decline in their walking speed each year.
Researchers note that walking speed can increase, however, especially if COPD patients participate in rehabilitation.
“The treatment gains following exercise-based pulmonary rehabilitation programs, including aerobic and strengthening exercises, showed a mean improvement of 50 meters per year,” said one researcher, adding that those gains greatly outweigh the average declines.
An updated version of the world’s first bicycle may help some people with emphysema and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) get around more easily. That is according to a recent pilot study published in the journal Chest.
The study looked at the effects of a walking aid referred to as the “modern draisine” because of its similarities to the pedal-free prototype of today’s bicycle, known as the draisine. The walking aid, which researchers believe will improve COPD patients’ mobility, has a seat for patients to sit on and handlebars to hold while they use their feet on the ground to propel themselves along.
This walking device was built in response to a recent study that indicated that 48 percent of COPD patients are embarrassed to use the current COPD-designated walking device—the rollator. Unlike the draisine, the rollator dons a four-wheeled frame with handles that people push in front of them as they walk. Patients are also provided with a basket to carry their portable oxygen tanks.
As part of the new study, researchers tested the draisine against the rollator among 21 COPD patients who had difficulty getting around on their own. Research found that patients who used the bike-like device did a better job of getting around during an indoor walking test. Patients covered an average of 466 meters in 6 minutes, compared with 383 meters while using the rollator.
Further, only 10 percent of study participants said that they felt embarrassed while using the device, while 19 percent indicated that they felt embarrassed while using the rollator. However, while patients were less likely to say the draisine embarrassed them, 16 of the 21 patients said that they would use the rollator on a day-to-day basis, compared to only 8 who indicated that they would use the draisine.
Currently, the draisine is not widely used among COPD patients, but several models are available in the Netherlands. A major downside to the device is cost, which is roughly five times that of the rollator at around $680.