Medical Minute: Building Strength for Lung Patients

Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease, or COPD, is a lung disease that affects up to 30 million Americans. Emphysema and chronic bronchitis are the two main diseases that fall under the category of COPD.

It is the fourth leading cause of death in the United States, and it's the only leading cause of death where the death rate keeps increasing. Now, patients are building muscle and building strength.

Walks like these were once hard to imagine for Pat Ternstrom. After 40 years of smoking, she has COPD, a lung disease that plagues many smokers.

Dr. Richard Casaburi says that's a common result for many people with the disease, that lack of exercise weakens muscles and leaves patients with little strength.

"We found that working on their muscles definitely benefits the patients, so they can sort of overcome their lung limitations."

Dr. Casaburi is helping women build muscle with weights and weekly injections of testosterone.

"Testosterone is not just a man's hormone. You can get muscle mass gains, up to 18 pounds of muscle, from testosterone administration for fairly high doses."

Even low doses could boost muscle mass in women. Along with the hormone, women lift weights three times a week for ten weeks.

"These people will recondition their muscles, and they can function an awful lot better."

Pat says her new strength has had a big impact.

"I feel I would say 100 percent better. I feel like I was almost reborn again."

At 77, her new muscles are keeping pat full of energy and life.

For more information, contact:

Christine Lewis, Communications consultant
Issues Management Network
(310) 215-0234

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