The following is a summary of “Dissociation between physical capacity and daily physical activity in COPD patients. A population-based approach,” published in the FEBRUARY 2023 issue of Pulmonology by García-Río, et al.

Physical capability (PC) and regular physical activity (PA) are two important markers in the clinical course of COPD. However, they may not necessarily have a strong correlation. For a study, researchers sought to assess the prevalence of PC-PA dissociation in COPD patients and participants without airflow limitation (AL) and to pinpoint its contributing components.

A population-based sample of 9,092 participants assessed for the EPISCAN II trial included 319 COPD patients and 399 subjects without AL. Clinical questionnaires, blood analysis, lung function tests, and low-dose computed tomography (CT) scans to evaluate lung density and airway wall thickness were all part of the baseline assessment. While a Yale Physical Activity Survey summary index score of <51 was used to identify with a sedentary lifestyle, a distance walked in 6 minutes that was >70% of the projected distance was deemed a sign of normal PC.

While this phenomenon was found in 188 (47.1%) people without AL, only 166 COPD patients (52.0%) reported having a sedentary lifestyle with signs of maintained PC. In the COPD group, high hematocrit and blood eosinophil count were shown to be independent risk factors for PC-PA dissociation, as were symptoms of chronic bronchitis, depression, and raised hematocrit. In contrast, poor fat-free mass, obesity, anxiety, low HDL cholesterol levels, and the lack of osteoporosis were risk factors for PC-PA dissociation in the participants without AL.

With distinct risk factors for sedentarism across the two groups, nearly half of COPD patients and people without airflow restriction with maintained PC maintain a sedentary lifestyle.