New Study Reveals Home Exercise Reduces Hospitalizations for COPD Patients by 40%

Written by Henrik Rothen

Jan.04 - 2024 12:33 PM CET

Health
Photo: Shutterstock.com
Photo: Shutterstock.com
New Study Reveals Home Exercise Reduces Hospitalizations for COPD Patients by 40%

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A recent study has shown that simple home-based exercises can significantly reduce hospitalizations for patients with Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD), a critical health challenge worldwide.

The study, conducted by researchers from Aalborg University in Denmark, in collaboration with counterparts in Norway and Australia, found that treadmill exercises at home could decrease the risk of rehospitalization for COPD patients by over 40%.

The study included patients between the ages of 40 and 80 with severe or very severe COPD. Over a two-year period, they were divided into three groups. Group A received treadmills for home use and participated in a telerehabilitation program involving daily treadmill exercises combined with remote consultations via iPad. Group B also received treadmills and followed a home-based exercise program on paper, while Group C attended a traditional rehabilitation program at a health center.

Surprisingly, the group exercising independently at home without intensive support achieved equally good or even better results than those following the more comprehensive rehabilitation program.

'They can actually do a lot on their own'

"This just shows that we don't always need to hold patients' hands. They can actually do a lot on their own – and that's enormously good news at a time when the healthcare system is facing massive challenges," said Birthe Dinesen from Aalborg University.

COPD is a chronic condition that progressively narrows airways and breaks down lung tissue over time, leading to increased breathlessness, coughing, and frequent lung infections.

Consequently, hospital admissions for COPD are on the rise globally. This study's findings offer a promising approach to managing COPD, suggesting that empowering patients to exercise at home can not only improve their health but also alleviate the burden on healthcare systems. ​

FAQ on Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD)

  1. What are the symptoms of COPD? COPD symptoms include persistent cough, often producing mucus, shortness of breath, especially during physical activities, wheezing, chest tightness, and frequent respiratory infections. As the disease progresses, symptoms often worsen, and activities that were once easy may become difficult due to respiratory discomfort.

  2. What should you do if you suspect you have COPD? If you experience symptoms suggestive of COPD, especially if you're a smoker or have had long-term exposure to lung irritants, it's important to see a healthcare provider. Early diagnosis and treatment can help manage symptoms and improve quality of life. Your doctor may recommend pulmonary function tests, chest X-rays, or other exams to confirm a diagnosis.

  3. Can COPD be cured? Currently, there is no cure for COPD, but its progression can be slowed, and symptoms managed with the right treatment and lifestyle changes. Treatment options include medications like bronchodilators and steroids, pulmonary rehabilitation, and in severe cases, oxygen therapy. Quitting smoking is crucial for those with COPD, as it's the most effective way to slow the progression of the disease.

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