Physical activity levels in ILD: are there similarities with COPD?

A summary of research published in PLOS ONE

A new study has compared activity levels of people with interstitial lung disease (ILD) to people with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD).

It is important to understand activity levels of people with long-term lung conditions. This can help develop targeted treatments to improve a person’s quality of life and manage their symptoms.

Activity in COPD has been well-researched, but less is known about activity in ILD.

What did the study look at?

This new study aimed to compare physical activity levels of:

  • 45 people with COPD,
  • 45 people with ILD, and
  • 30 people who had neither condition.

Researchers collected personal information for all participants, including age, weight and results from lung function tests. During the study they measured activity levels via an activity armband. All participants also took part in two walking tests, which measure how far a person can walk in 6 minutes.

What do the results show?

The results found that people with ILD walked a lower number of steps per day, compared to healthy people. This was similar to people with COPD. However, people with ILD performed activities at a lower strength (intensity) compared to those with COPD.

Results from walking tests and lung function tests are used to predict the activity levels of a person with COPD. In this study, this link was not present in the ILD group. This means that a person could be doing less activity than the results of lung function and walking tests would suggest.

Why is this important?

This study maps out activity levels in a group of people with ILD. The results can help improve understanding of activity in ILD and use this information in treatment plans.

The authors concluded that healthcare professionals should focus on spotting the signs of low activity in people with ILD. This is because walking tests alone did not predict this. The authors suggest that plans to promote activity may need to focus on behavioural factors to be successful.

Further reading

Read the original research paper:

Title: Physical activity pattern of patients with interstitial lung disease compared to patients with COPD: A propensity-matched study

Access ELF information on ILD:

Access ELF information on COPD: