Community-based physical activity for COPD patients with varying needs in Brazil (BW2) by the Breathe Well group

16 May 2023

Introduction: Physical inactivity (PI) is common in Chronic Pulmonary Obstructive Disease (COPD) patients being related to exacerbations and mortality. Physical activity (PA) improves quality of life (QoL). However, patients do not engage with PA programs, especially those with anxiety and depression. This study evaluated the perceptions of COPD patients with and without anxiety and/or depression about the practice of PA in the community.

Methods: We conducted semi-structured telephone interviews from October 2020 to April 2021, with COPD patients followed up at Basic Health Units and/or specialized Polyclinics in the city of São Bernardo do Campo, Brazil. Discussions were audio-recorded, transcribed, and analysed using the Framework method. 

Results: 21 patients with established or newly diagnosed COPD were included (11 women and 10 men), average age of 67 years. Five big themes were identified: Knowledge about COPD and its management; Self-perception of life with COPD; Knowledge and experiences about depression and anxiety; Opinions on PA and Repercussions of the COVID-19 on the daily life. COPD was viewed as a neglected disease that led to a reduction of QoL. PA is important and brings physical and mental benefits. People with emotional disorders tended to view PA more negatively. COVID-19 had reduced PA opportunities, access to COPD treatment and social interaction, associated with more exacerbations and emotional difficulties.

Discussion: This study showed urgency in improving knowledge about COPD and implementing strategies to strengthen supported self-care to proactive coping with the disease. This can help patients and families to have more realistic and optimistic views of the disease, minimizing dysfunctional beliefs that affect QoL and self-care. Train health professionals to improve early diagnosis and disease management considering emotional aspects in the global assessment of patients, as such conditions impact the evolution of the disease, adherence to treatment in the practice of PA and disease progression.

Resource information

Respiratory conditions
  • COPD
Respiratory topics
  • Rehabilitation
Type of resource
  • Breathe Well
Munich 2023
Sonia Maria Martins 1, Rachel Jordan 2, Rachel Adams 2, Peymané Adab 2, Andy Dickens 2, Alexandra Enocson, Rafael Stelmach 3, Eduardo Magalhães 4, Vania Nascimento 4 1 Gepraps-Brazil, Santo André, São Paulo, Brasil, Brazil, 2 Institute of Applied Health Research - University of Birmingham, Birmingham, UK, 3 Universidade de São Paulo, São Paulo, Brazil, 4 Faculdade de Medicina do ABC, Santo André, Brazil