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Keeping Them Healthy: IHLH Researchers Find Solutions to Promote Physical Activity Amongst British Columbians with Chronic Lung Disease

Posted: 23 January, 2013

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L to R: Dr. Darlene Reid, patient Courtney Smith, Dr. Pat Camp and Dr. Jordan Guenette in the Physiotherapy Department in St. Paul’s Hospital, Vancouver, BC.

Researchers from the Institute for Heart and Lung Health (IHLH) have been awarded funding from the British Columbia (BC) Lung Association to pursue an initiative to promote physical activity and exercise adherence among people with chronic lung diseases.

Drs. Pat Camp and Jordan Guenette from the University of British Columbia (UBC) James Hogg Research Centre at St. Paul’s Hospital, as well as Dr. Darlene Reid from the Vancouver Coastal Health Research Institute (VCHRI) have received $150,000 to investigate optimal exercise and physical training programs for people who live with chronic lung disease, with a focus on Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD). COPD is a long-term lung disease that has no cure, and is currently the fourth leading cause of death in Canada.

The team, co-led by Drs. Camp and Reid, has more than sixty years of combined clinical and research experience in pulmonary research, and will use the funds to equip research laboratories to develop solutions for safe and effective exercise testing and training of people with chronic lung disease.

The team will then implement these solutions into existing clinical pulmonary rehabilitation programs. The funds will also be used to develop and deliver knowledge exchange programs with pulmonary clinicians and chronic lung disease patients.

Maintaining a physically active lifestyle is especially important for people with chronic lung diseases, such as COPD. Exercise training as part of a PR program has been shown to lessen COPD symptoms of breathlessness and fatigue, increase activity tolerance, and reduce hospital admissions and stays. As well, people with COPD who are physically active live longer.

Each year, the BC Lung Association provides approximately $1.2 million to physicians and scientists doing research in British Columbia on lung diseases.