September 12, 2016
1 min read

Physical activity decreases anxiety, depression risk in patients with COPD

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Patients with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease and high levels of physical activity have a reduced risk of developing anxiety or depression, according to recent study findings presented at the 2016 European Respiratory Society International Congress.

The researchers evaluated the association of physical activity at baseline with occurrences of COPD-related comorbidities in 409 patients with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD). Patients were recruited from primary care practices in the Netherlands and Switzerland.

The Longitudinal Ageing Study Amsterdam Physical Activity Questionnaire was utilized to determine rates of physical activity.

After being monitored for approximately 5 years, patients described the comorbidities that they experienced. Cardiovascular, neurological, hormonal, musculoskeletal, cancer, and infectious disease comorbidities were reported. In addition, participants’ mental health was assessed by their completion of the Hospital Anxiety and Depression Scale questionnaire.

Results showed that increased physical activity reduced the risk of developing anxiety or depression within the next 5 years by 11% and 15%, respectively. All other categories of comorbidities were not significantly associated with physical activity.

“In COPD patients, those with high physical activity are less likely to develop depression or anxiety over time. Physical activity promotion programs may be considered to lower the burden of mental disorders in COPD patients,” Milo Puhan, MD, PhD, lead study researcher from the University of Zurich in Switzerland, and colleagues said.

“These findings have particular significance since mental disorders are common in patients with COPD. The prevalence of depression and anxiety is approximately 40% in COPD patients while the corresponding figure is less than 10% in the general population.” – by Alaina Tedesco


Disclosure: was unable to confirm any relevant financial disclosures at the time of publication.