A study involving a group of patients with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) that were tested using an online pedometer-based walking program suggests that internet supported programs with instructions, information about the disease, and personalized goals may help to improve health-related quality of life (HRQL) for these patients.
The research was conducted by Dr. Marilyn Moy, from the Department of Veteran Affairs, VA Boston Healthcare System, and also a professor of Medicine at Harvard Medical School. The results were announced at the 2014 American Thoracic Society International Conference.
According to an article from Medical News Today, from a total of 238 U.S veterans with COPD that recruited from all over the country, 45% of which came from rural areas, Dr. Moy assembled two test groups, one to be given the pedometer-based exercise program and access to online information, called the “intervention group,” and the other one to use a simple pedometer, called the “control group.”
Both groups registered their results for four months by answering the St. George’s Respiratory Questionnaire (SGRQ).
Scientists concluded that 53% of people in the intervention group had a 4-unit improvement in SGRQ, compared to 39% in the control group, and they presented a better HRQL considering symptoms and the impact of COPD of their lifestyles. People in the intervention group also walked 779 more steps per day.
Elevated levels of physical activity have already been proven to be positive for people with COPD, as BioNews Texas reported last March when a study led by Dr. Cristóbal Esteban at Bilbao’s Hospital Galdakao-Usansolo revealed that people “who engage in physical activity, such as walking,” had “less complications due to COPD” and had fewer chances of being hospitalized. Another study also revealed that COPD patients with higher levels of physical activity were less likely to return to the hospital within a 30 day period.
This new study, according to its author, suggests that physical activity can be improved with extra help from these internet-based activity programs. “Getting patients to change behavior and stick to an exercise program can be difficult,” said Dr. Moy. However, the possible benefits still need further investigation to assess their exact potential “to sustain exercise in persons with COPD, to complement existing pulmonary rehabilitation programs, and to be integrated into COPD self-management programs,” Dr. Moy added.