Lung diseases, such as chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), can strike anyone at any age, though it is known more for affecting people 40 years and older.
The disease remains with people as they age and many with COPD suffer from what is called exercise intolerance as they get older.
Exercise intolerance is when a person can no longer perform physical exercise at a normal level or duration.
For someone with COPD, chronic bronchitis, pulmonary fibrosis, pneumoconiosis, emphysema, interstitial lung disease or bronchiectasis, maintaining the strength to accomplish basic tasks can be difficult.
People, whether they have a lung disease or not, lose bone and muscle mass or density as they age.
- Other minerals
A recent study in England, focused on elderly patients with chronic lung diseases and enrolled them in an eight-week rehabilitation program. An elderly frail person is typically considered someone who is afflicted with physical or mental disabilities that may interfere with their ability to independently perform activities of daily living.
The study found that patients considered frail were twice as likely not to complete the rehabilitation program because of their condition. Some even resulted in hospital stays.
But, those who DID complete the program showed improvement compared to non-frail subjects in:
- Decreased breathlessness
- Exercise performance
- Physical activity
- Healthier states
Almost two-thirds who completed the program moved from frailty to no longer being considered medically frail.
Researchers found there is a need to identify the signs of frailty in COPD patients as early as possible so that treatments and therapies can be introduced to prevent further decline or worse.
Early signs of frailty:
- Slow mobility
- Weight loss
- Decreased activities
One of the study’s authors, Dr. Matthew Maddocks of King’s College London sees the results reaching beyond people with COPD.
“Pulmonary rehabilitation is aimed at people with respiratory problems such as working the arms and legs to strengthen the muscles, and using walking and cycling to improve fitness and balance. This model could be adapted to benefit older adults in other healthcare settings,” he said.
Pulmonary rehabilitation battles many components of frailty including slowness, fatigue, weakness and physical inactivity, and provides a more holistic approach to improve overall health.
Another author, Dr. William Man of the Royall Brompton & Harefield NHS Foundation Trust, said: “Although COPD is primarily a lung disease, many organ systems can be affected, contributing to frailty. The importance of a holistic approach such as exercise training can bring great benefits to people with lung disease without necessarily treating the lungs.”
Frailty increases one’s risk of becoming dependent on others. It affects about one in 10 people 65 and older and four of 10 people 80 and older. It is associated with a greater risk of falls, disability, hospitalization and death. While frailty is often linked to age-related decline, chronic diseases like COPD can accelerate that rate and expedite a frail state.
The shortness of breath often experienced by someone with COPD can be accompanied by other health-related problems. These include muscle weakness, osteoporosis and fatigue, which are symptoms often linked to physical frailty.
In general, the results show that pulmonary rehabilitation is highly effective in improving symptoms such as breathlessness, but also effective in boosting physical function and the health of elderly or frail patients regardless of whether they have a lung disease.
If you or a loved one suffers from a chronic disease like COPD, emphysema, pulmonary fibrosis or other symptoms of lung disease, the Lung Health Institute offers a variety of cellular treatment options.
Contact us today at 888-745-6697 or fill out the form to see if you qualify for cellular therapy, and find out what cellular therapy could mean for you.
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