A cross sectional observational study on the influence of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease on activities of daily living: the COPD-Life study

Tuberk Toraks. 2012;60(1):1-12. doi: 10.5578/tt.3414.


Introduction: This study was designed to identify the impact of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) on activities of daily living, life styles and needs in patients.

Patients and methods: Participants of this national, multi-centered, cross-sectional observational study included 497 stable COPD patients from 41 centers. The mean age (standard deviation; SD) was 63.3 (9.3) years with 59.0% of the patients under the age of 65, and 89.9% of the participants were male. Sociodemographic and COPD-related data were gathered at enrollment and during the 1-month telephone follow-up.

Results: The mean (SD) COPD duration was 7.3 (6.5) years in the overall population while 5.4 (4.6) years for patients who recieved COPD diagnosis at least one year after the onset of symptoms. Dyspnea was the most common (83.1%) symptom and walking up stairs (66.6%) was the most difficult activity to be performed. Majority of the patients were aware of COPD as a chronic disease (63.4%), requiring ongoing treatment (79.7%), mainly caused by smoking (63.5%). 59% of the patients were under the age of 65 years-old. In 84% of patients, graduation from at least a primary school was identified. Results revealed an average number of two dependants that were obliged to look after per patient, ability to go on an outing in 91% of the patients, and going grocery shopping with ease in more than two-thirds of the study population. There was no significant difference in regular use of medication device across different educational or age groups. The top three COPD treatment expectations of the patients were being able to breathe (24.1%), walking (17.1%), and walking up stairs (11.7%), while shortness of breath (43.3%) was the first priority treatment need.

Conclusion: In contrast to the common view that COPD prevalance is higher in old age population, this study showed that the rate of the disease is higher among younger patients than expected; indispensability of out of the house activities in majority of patients; and use of regular medication device to be independent of educational level and the age of COPD patients. Our findings indicate that the likelihood of COPD patient population to be composed of younger and active individuals who do not spend majority of their time at home/in bed as opposed to popular belief. Therefore, availability of a portable and easy to use device for medication seems to be important to enhance daily living.

Publication types

  • Multicenter Study
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Activities of Daily Living*
  • Aged
  • Bronchodilator Agents / therapeutic use
  • Chronic Disease
  • Cross-Sectional Studies
  • Expectorants / therapeutic use
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Life Style
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Pulmonary Disease, Chronic Obstructive / complications*
  • Pulmonary Disease, Chronic Obstructive / drug therapy
  • Pulmonary Disease, Chronic Obstructive / psychology*
  • Quality of Life*
  • Severity of Illness Index
  • Smoking Cessation
  • Walking / physiology


  • Bronchodilator Agents
  • Expectorants