Guaranteed appointment within 48 hours (and usually 24)

Improving Life for People with COPD

COPD affects the lives of roughly 5% of the population.1 It stands for chronic obstructive pulmonary disease. COPD is more of a catchall term encompassing chronic bronchitis, emphysema, and/or asthma. In medical writings, sometimes the terms CAO (chronic airflow obstruction) or CAL (chronic airflow limitation) are preferred. Whatever you call it, the condition can severely limit a person’s life.

What is COPD?

COPD occurs when damage to the lungs makes it hard to breathe. The damage may come from irritation, swelling, or degenerative processes, depending on the specific diagnosis. Symptoms include shortness of breath, wheezing, and coughing. All of this results in less oxygen reaching the blood, which can affect numerous other bodily functions.

How Does COPD Affect People’s Lives?

COPD can make it painful to breathe. It reduces a person’s ability to exercise or be active. It also makes it harder for a person to talk. That communication difficulty often results in a surrender to silence, which ranks as one of the most important effects on quality of life. The severity of symptoms can wax and wane. Each year, one in five people with moderate to severe COPD experience a flareup so bad that is causes an emergency department or urgent care visit.2

How to Improve COPD

Technically speaking, COPD cannot be reversed. However, there is a lot people can do to reduce symptoms and improve their lives. Rescue inhalers and inhaled steroids can help control symptoms and arrest the disease progression. But did you know exercise physiologists can teach exercises that make a big difference in symptoms and progression as well?

Pulmonary Rehab Doubles Ease of Speech in COPD

Under professional guidance, exercise for COPD and lungs in general is referred to as pulmonary rehab. People often think of pulmonary rehab as happening in hospitals and nursing homes, but Advanced Physiotherapy makes that same rehab available with the convenience and cost savings of outpatient care.

One of the more recent studies on the effectiveness of outpatient pulmonary rehab was the work of Nina Bausek, PHD, published last January. Researchers took before and after measurements of how hard a person with COPD could blow and how long the person could continuously sound the letter A after rising from a seated position. Patients had eight visits for disease education, lower and upper body exercises, cardiovascular fitness, and respiratory muscle training. The time a person could sound the letter A more than doubled. How much a person could exhale increased 70%. That was after just eight visits. 


If you or someone you care for has a hard time breathing, please make sure pulmonary rehab has been included in the plan of care. Or if the condition is getting worse, consider a new round of pulmonary rehab. Remember that Advanced Physiotherapy’s exercise physiology services provide this rehab with the convenience and cost savings of outpatient care.


  1. Tilert T, Paulose-Ram R, Howard D, Butler J, Lee S, Wang MQ. Prevalence and factors associated with self-reported chronic obstructive pulmonary disease among adults aged 40-79: the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES) 2007–2012. EC Pulmonology and Respiratory Medicine. 2018;7(9):650.
  2. Rubí M, Renom F, Ramis F, Medinas M, Centeno MJ, Górriz M, et al. Effectiveness of pulmonary rehabilitation in reducing health resources use in chronic obstructive pulmonary disease. Arch Phys Med Rehabil. 2010;91: 364–368.
  3. Bausek N, Havenga L, Aldarondo S. Respiratory muscle training improves speech and pulmonary function in COPD patients in a home health setting-a pilot study. BioRxiv. 2019 Jan 1:523746.




< Return

Make Booking

Book Appointment

Visit Us

Get directions

Message Us

Enquire online