Patients With COPD Who Live Alone May Be Less Active, Research Suggests

By Dr Deepu

A recent research suggests “patients with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) who live with a spouse, partner, or other caregiver are more active than patients who live alone, and are also more likely to participate in pulmonary rehabilitation programs.” The findings are to be published online in Annals of the American Thoracic Society.
Patients with partners are associated with an 11-fold higher likelihood of participation in a pulmonary rehabilitation program, according to the retrospective analysis of data from the CASCADE (COPD Activity: Serotonin Transporter, Cytokines and Depression) study of depression and functioning among COPD patients, to be published online in Annals of the American Thoracic Society.
The analysis included 282 CASCADE study participants with moderate to severe (GOLD Stage II-IV) COPD (age: 68 ± 9; FEV1% predicted: 45 ± 16) recruited from two Veterans Administration hospitals and two academic medical centers. Eighty percent of the patients were white men, 90% reported having a family caregiver, and 75% lived with others (family members or friends).
Physical activity was measured with a validated accelerometer at baseline, and at 1 and 2 years. Additional self-care behaviors assessed included pulmonary rehabilitation attendance, smoking status, receipt of influenza and/or pneumococcal vaccinations, and medication adherence.
Structural social support indicators included living status, being partnered, the number of close friends/relatives, and the presence of a family caregiver.
Functional social support was measured with the Medical Outcomes Social Support Survey (MOSSS), and mixed-effects and logistic regression models were also used.
Among the main findings:

Participants who lived with others took 903 more steps per day than those who lived alone (95% CI, 373-1433; P=0.001)
Increases in the MOSSS total score were associated with more steps per day (β=10, 95% CI, 2-18; P=0.02)
The odds of pulmonary rehabilitation participation were more than 11 times higher if a patient had a spouse or partner caregiver compared with not having a caregiver (OR=11.03, 95% CI, 1.93-62.97; P<0.01)
Higher functional social support (MOSSS total score) was associated with marginally lower odds of smoking (OR=0.99, 95% CI, 0.98-1.00; P=0.03) and higher odds of pneumococcal vaccination (OR=1.02, 95% CI,m 1.00-1.03; P=0.02)
No significant relationships were seen between social support and influenza vaccination or adherence with inhaler or nebulizer medications.