WEDNESDAY, June 19, 2019 (HealthDay News) — Midlife cardiorespiratory fitness (CRF) is associated with a reduced long-term risk for chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) and COPD death, according to a study published online June 17 in Thorax.

Gorm Mørk Hansen, from Herlev-Gentofte University Hospital in Copenhagen, Denmark, and colleagues examined the correlation between CRF and incident COPD and COPD mortality. A total of 4,730 middle-aged men were recruited in 1970 to 1971 and were followed for up to 46 years.

The researchers found that the estimated risk for incident COPD was lower in participants with normal and with high CRF versus low CRF (hazard ratios, 0.79 and 0.69, respectively). The risk for death from COPD was significantly lower for participants with normal and high CRF versus those with low CRF (hazard ratios, 0.65 and 0.38, respectively). In normal and high versus low CRF, restricted mean survival times showed a delay to incident COPD and death from COPD in the magnitude of 1.3 to 1.8 years.

“Good midlife CRF was associated with a very long-term reduced risk of both incident COPD and death from COPD, and a delay to diagnosis and death,” the authors write. “In individuals at risk of developing COPD, fitness enhancing physical activity should be encouraged not only to reduce dyspnea but also to delay development, progression, and death from COPD.”

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