Physical activity in individuals with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease

Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) is a lung condition that affects more than 75,000 British Columbians. People with COPD have a shortness of breath, chronic cough, and can experience difficulties with the activities of daily life, such as showering, walking, and social activities. Many people with COPD have regular flare-ups, or exacerbations, of their lung condition. These exacerbations result in a severe shortness of breath and overall weakness and fatigue and sometimes lead to long hospital stays. These flare-ups and long hospital stays can cause severe problems with activity tolerance, which then further increases the risk of future flare-ups.

The objective of Dr. Pat Camp's research program is to investigate how physical activity can improve the health outcomes of people who are hospitalized with a COPD flare-up. This research program will include a systematic literature review to summarize the current state of knowledge, validating tools to measure activity in hospitalized COPD patients, and determining if exercise programs for hospitalized patients can improve their quality of life and health outcomes. In addition, Dr. Camp's research program will include projects that incorporate patient input about what activities are important to them, which will indicate the level and type of activity that is necessary in order for these patients to be discharged safely from the hospital.

By developing a thorough understanding of how exercise leads to increased health in COPD patients, this research program aims to improve the quality of life and overall health of patients hospitalized with acute COPD flare-ups. Future work will extend these innovations to other chronic lung disease populations, such as patients with lung transplants or interstitial lung disease.