COPD Is Third Leading Cause Of Death In The World

WORLD COPD Day (20th November) aims to raise awareness of Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease by improving care throughout the world.

COPD is a chronic inflammatory lung disease which causes obstructed airflow from the lungs. It is a collective name for a variety of lung diseases, such as emphysema, chronic bronchitis and chronic obstructive airways disease.

Pulmonary rehab in COPD

Three million people have COPD, a disease characterised by airflow obstruction, causing breathlessness. Another two million go undiagnosed. It is not curable but people can manage their symptoms to improve quality of life. Pulmonary rehabilitation (PR), an evidence-based intervention, offers education and supervised exercise for people with COPD. However, uptake of pulmonary rehab is poor, sometimes due to fear of breathlessness.

Shortness of breath and difficult, laboured breathing (dyspnoea) is a common feature of COPD. Patients diagnosed with COPD will have weak inspiratory muscles.

IMT in pulmonary rehab

Inspiratory weakness is common in COPD but Inspiratory Muscle Training (IMT) strengthens the inspiratory muscles. A study in CHEST found IMT improved quality of life in patients with COPD, with improvements in:

  • Inspiratory muscle strength of 55% in patients with COPD
  • Breathing endurance of 86% in patients with COPD
  • Quality of life by 21% in patients with COPD
  • Dyspnoea by 36% in patients with COPD

The new GOLD 2020 Strategy Report for the diagnosis, management and prevention of COPD, suggests also incorporating IMT into PR.

A BMJ Open study assessed the acceptability of IMT as a treatment or precursor to PR in people with COPD. Using the POWERbreathe K3 IMT device, the study finds:

“This feasibility study of IMT in those who declined PR met its aims and was successful in showing that IMT could be easily implemented and IMT proved acceptable to participants.”

World COPD Day

Every year, GOLD chooses a theme to help raise awareness of COPD across the world. GOLD is the Global Initiative for Chronic Obstructive Lung Disease. This year the theme for World COPD Day is “All Together to End COPD”. It's likely that over 50 countries will carry out activities on this day. This makes it the most important COPD awareness event in the world.

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