Supervised exercise therapy can lead to improvements in COPD symptoms

LOS ANGELES (April 2, 2009) – Those suffering from chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) often complain that exercise is too exhausting and leaves them breathless. An article in the current issue of the New England Journal of Medicine reports that supervised exercise through pulmonary rehabilitation can actually reduce their feelings of breathlessness, increase their tolerance for exercise and improve their quality of life.

The article’s lead author is Richard Casaburi, Ph.D., M.D., a senior investigator at the Los Angeles Biomedical Research Institute at Harbor-UCLA Medical Center (LA BioMed). He directs the institute’s Rehabilitation Clinical Trials Center, a facility that focuses on COPD research. Dr. Casaburi surveyed previous studies on pulmonary rehabilitation for COPD and found that supervised exercise therapy improves aerobic function of the muscles, which helps reduce the breathlessness that is common in COPD.

"These findings are a clear indication that pulmonary rehabilitation can improve the quality of life for those living with COPD," said Dr. Casaburi. "The studies also indicate that pulmonary rehabilitation results in decreased anxiety and depression for COPD patients because they find they can exercise more, and they enjoy the feeling that they have mastered something important in their lives."

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