Second Opinion: Rehabilitation through exercise

Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease is a blight on British health, estimated to cause 20 per cent of medical hospital admissions. Primarily caused by cigarette smoking, it is a condition that damages the airways and obstructs the flow of air from the lungs, leading to breathlessness, a chronic cough and wheezing. The symptoms are distressing and, as one might imagine, they have a significant effect on quality of life.

So what treatments for COPD can improve a patient’s wellbeing, mood and sense of control over the condition? The answer may be surprising, in part because we have become accustomed to hearing almost daily about “breakthroughs” in genetic decoding and state-of-the-art biotechnology. New drugs are permanently “on the horizon”.

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