Physical activity decreases risk of early death in COPD – How can mHealth help?

A recent study of 2.370 patients from Kaiser Permanente shows that any amount of moderate to vigorous physical activity can effectively reduce the risk of dying after hospitalization for chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD).

In the US alone COPD cost $36 billion and claims about 135.000 lives every year. Hospitalizations due to severe exacerbations of COPD account for up to 70% of the healthcare costs associated with COPD.

The KP study found that patients who were active had a 47% lower risk of death in the 12 months following a COPD hospitalisation, compared to inactive patients. Patients who were active but at insufficient levels still maintained a 28% lower risk of death, compared to inactive patients.

Dr. Marilyn Moy, Assistant Professor at Harvard Medical School commented on these findings: “The results also demonstrate the importance of routinely assessing physical activity in clinical care to identify high-risk patients as part of a larger strategy to promote physical activity in this highly sedentary population.”

This is very interesting in relation to mHealth tools, that have shown an increased adherence to home exercise, by supporting the patient on the distance. One way to utilize this in everyday clinical practice is for supporting patients that have completed a 7-10 weeks Pulmonary Rehabilitation. It is well known that the benefit, on the long-term, of pulmonary rehabilitation is not significant. Therefore, the long-term value of pulmonary rehabilitation, could potentially be improved by empowering and engaging patients through mHealth.

Sources:

Physical activity found to decrease risk of early death in COPD

Maintenance after Pulmonary Rehabilitation in Chronic Lung Disease

International Mobile-Health Intervention on Physical Activity, Sitting, and Weight: The Stepathlon Cardiovascular Health Study

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