Exercising with Chronic Lung Disease

                Chronic lung conditions such as Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease, bronchiectasis and interstitial lung disease are very common in the community. In fact, about 5% of the population live with a chronic lung disease. These conditions are characterised by poor airflow, often with a cough and sputum. They generally worsen over time, leaving patients with increasing breathlessness, and can result in death. Exposure to irritants such as smoking and poor air quality are the main factors which lead to obstructive lung disease.

                As there is no known cure for obstructive lung disease, management is the main aim of treatment. Drug therapy such as bronchodilators, corticosteroids and long-term anti-biotic use, and oxygen supplementation can play a role in managing symptoms. The most effective evidence-based intervention however, is pulmonary rehabilitation. Pulmonary rehabilitation is a comprehensive intervention program which includes exercise training, education and behavioural change. It is individually tailored to each patient based on their unique assessment findings, the aim of which is to:

·         Reduce and manage symptoms

·         Improve understanding of the condition

·         Promote self-management

·         Reduce acute flare-ups and hospitalisation

·         Reduce the length of hospital stays

·         Improve tolerance to activity and exercise

·         Maximise independence with daily activities

If you have, or know someone with a chronic lung disease, speak to a physiotherapist with expertise in this area about how they can help you manage your symptoms and improve your quality of life.


Stay active!

Anthony Imms

Physiotherapist and advocate for healthy ageing 

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