Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease
"Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) is characterised by airflow obstruction. The airflow obstruction is usually progressive, not fully reversible and does not change markedly over several months. The disease is predominantly caused by smoking."1
"An estimated three million people are affected by COPD in the UK. About 900,000 have been diagnosed with COPD and an estimated two million people have COPD which remains undiagnosed"1
Management and medication
COPD cannot be cured but effective treatments can improve the quality of life. These can include advice to quit smoking, pulmonary rehabilitation, medication, oxygen therapy, and possibly lung surgery. The main role of medication is to relax and dilate the airways, reduce inflammation and reduce the thickness of sputum, making it easier to cough.
Effects on the exercise response
COPD can make indiiduals less tolerant of exercise. This can be due to a combination of ventilatory limitations, skeletal muscle dysfunction, cardiovascular limitations and psychological factors.
Effects of exercise training
Exercise can improve quality of life in addition to reducing fear, anxiety and depression, improving efficiency of skeletal muscles, and improving the ability of an individual to perform activities of daily living or to return to work.
Guidelines for exercise programming
- NICE Guidance CG101 - COPD diagnosis and management
- American College of Sports Medicine (2009) ACSM's exercise management for persons with chronic diseases and disabilities (3rd Ed) Champaign, IL: Human Kinetics
ACSM Current Comment: Exercise and COPD [full text]
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National Institute of Clinical Excellence (2004) COPD: Management of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease in adults in primary and secondary care. London: NICE [full text]
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