COPD Linked to Walking Problems?

January 5th, 2011 | Author: Katelyn Turner

The other day I received a blog in my Google Alerts from  Nursing with the title,COPD Linked to Walking Problems.” I thought to myself, what? And of course I had to read on to see what it said.

From the blog:


“An American study of 31,000 patients aged 40 to 90 years old examined the association between physical activity, the severity of disease and severe walking abnormalities, such as shuffling or limping. The scientists found that severe COPD almost doubled the risk of walking problems.”

It added:

“This suggests that disease severity can contribute to mechanical outcomes of patients with COPD. In addition, decreased physical activity levels were significantly associated with all COPD severity levels with the exception of mild COPD. The association between altered gait and COPD status may be due to the presence of physical inactivity that is present in patients with COPD. Future research directions should include investigating more closely the mechanical outcomes of persons with COPD.”

What do you think? Do you think walking problems can be associated to the prescence of physical inactivity in COPDers? I’d like to hear your thoughts.


  1. J HANKINS says:

    Hi Folks! Been doing a lot of reading on COPD lately. Been hospitalized twice in past year for lack of oxygen and didnt know i had COPD! Seems like it is taking longer to recover this time.. On oxygen 24/7 now, but was just when sleeping; after couple weeks had no problems walking but now stagger and cant seem to build much strenth in legs.. Went thru 4 weeks of physical therapy but dont guess it helped any. My question is: would using a treadmill some each day (holding the bar naturally to maintain balance) help any in increasing the leg strength, staggering, and maintaining a good oxygen level? Thanks..

  2. Pam Ludwig says:

    I also have trouble with balance and walking, have fell a few times. Was not sure it was related to copd but this helps answer that. Also have good days walking and then those really bad days when just exhausted. Thanks for the feedback

  3. just started blogging don’t know much about blogging. am depresses and went to internet. end stage copd and lung cancer. having trouble walking so i found this quite interesting.

    • Katelyn Harding says:

      Hi Sharon. We’re glad to have you here. If you have any questions or want more information, please let us know. We also have a COPD Information Line that’s extremely helpful. 1-866-316-2673.

  4. sue criswell says:

    It is very exciting to hear that I am not the only one having more problems with balance and walking days. I used to think that maybe I was making excuses for myself and that this was all in my mind, just like people were treating me, and then there were those days where I would feel great and breath and even think clearer and then is when I would get the comments from the people around me. Thanks!! It is great to get reinforcement.

    • Katelyn Harding says:

      Thanks for your responses, everyone. I, too, was very interested about reading more about the connection. It’s interesting for me to also read your responses! Susan – Don’t be discouraged! Have you tried pulmonary rehab? A lot of COPDers say it has helped them tremendously. Sandie – I know, but don’t let these people get to you. Sometimes it’s hard for people to relate if they don’t understand what you’re going through. Just keep doing what you’re doing.

      Thanks again, all! (Oh, and I’m always open for suggestions for new blog posts and for people to interview for our Faces of COPD blog.)


  5. sandie jewett says:

    what really hurts is that some people think.. come can walk more… some days i can walk a little more, some days less,,, and yet people that don’t have this, naturally, don’t understand….

  6. Susan Cline says:

    My walking problems was the first thing I noticed about my COPD. We were on a cruise and went a shore in Belize and I found I had trouble walking. I have a lot of trouble now! It depends on the day. If I can move air today I walk better, if I can’t well better to sit still. I record my SPO2,weight,blood pressure, peak flow and blood sugar every morning. I know when I get up if I can move air today just by how my chest feels. I worry about my driving when my walking is “off”. I have panic attacks when my breathing is really bad. Does anyone else go thru that. I can not get my medicine in my nebulizer fast enough. Some days.

  7. Susan Brown says:

    I knew my walking was messed up now I know why its even more depressing news.

  8. Wow I never even gave a thought to that. I always associated my “wobbles” to my back issues but it’s not something that occurs every time I walk. Thanks for the info definitely something to think about.

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