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PhD ceremony Ms. J.E. Hartman: Physical activity in patients with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease

When:We 05-06-2013 at 16:15

PhD ceremony: Ms. J.E. Hartman, 16.15 uur, Academiegebouw, Broerstraat 5, Groningen

Dissertation: Physical activity in patients with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease

Promotor(s): prof. H.M. Boezen

Faculty: Medical Sciences

The many health benefits of regular physical activity underline the importance of this topic, especially nowadays since a sedentary lifestyle is increasing. While physical activity has many health benefits in general, the physical activity level in COPD patients is low, compared with a healthy population but also with other patient groups. Physical activity is a modifiable risk factor and therefore an important treatment target in this patient group. This thesis investigated physical activity and its potential predictors in COPD patients in all severity stages of the disease, the suitability of general physical activity recommendations in COPD patients, and the association between decreased lung hyperinflation and physical activity.

As expected, disease-specific physical factors, like dyspnea, exercise capacity and muscle function, affected the physical activity level in COPD patients. Besides physical predictors, we also identified psychosocial, including motivational, and environmental factors that affected the physical activity level. In patients with mild to moderate COPD the predictors of physical activity were found to be more generic in contrast to the physical and disease-specific determinants in patients with more severe disease stages. Lung hyperinflation was found to be an important independent predictor of physical activity but improving lung hyperinflation with bronchoscopic lung volume reduction did not automatically increase physical activity in patients with severe emphysema. Finally, we found that applying slightly altered general physical activity recommendations, e.g., frequency, intensity or time, leads to large differences in classifying whether COPD patients are physically activity or not.

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