November 9, 2018
Could walking more save your life? Physicians say taking extra steps are beneficial, and can help prevent chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), a chronic lung disease that hinders breathing. November is National COPD Awareness Month, and physicians say participating in regular aerobic exercise — like walking — can improve circulation, help the body better use oxygen, and improve COPD symptoms.
“Walking can increase cardiorespiratory fitness, helping patients get less short of breath with activity over time,” said Amanda Green, MD, a Paris, Texas hospitalist. “Heart and lung disease go hand in hand, so improving baseline fitness can help with overall health and quality of life for all patients, especially COPD patients.”
Dr. Green sponsors monthly Walk With a Doc Texas walks in her community, inviting patients and other neighbors to take a hike — literally — with one another. She is one of dozens of Texas Medical Association (TMA) physician members who host Walk With a Doc Texas events in 40 cities across the state.
"Regular physical activities such as walking are crucial to significantly improving the symptoms that stem from COPD," said Walk With a Doc founder and cardiologist, David Sabgir, MD. "Activities such as walking can do this by lowering your heart rate, your blood pressure and reducing anxiety, stress, and depression."
TMA physician members host monthly walks across the state with an educational talk before each stroll. Several topics in November focus on COPD: From “COPD in Women” to “What is COPD?” All Texas walks are listed on the Walk With a Doc website.
Walk With a Doc Texas is funded by a grant from the TMA Foundation, TMA’s philanthropic arm, with generous support from the Texas Medical Association Insurance Trust, Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Texas, and Prudential.
COPD symptoms include difficulty breathing, persistent cough, and wheezing. It's caused by long-term exposure to cigarette smoke, dust, and chemicals. While COPD is treatable, its patients are at higher risk of developing heart disease, lung cancer, and other potentially deadly conditions.
TMA is the largest state medical society in the nation, representing more than 51,000 physician and medical student members. It is located in Austin and has 110 component county medical societies around the state. TMA’s key objective since 1853 is to improve the health of all Texans. TMA Foundation, TMA’s philanthropic arm, raises funds to support the public health and science priority initiatives of TMA and the family of medicine, including Walk With a Doc Texas. To learn more, visit the TMA website.
Walk With a Doc is a nonprofit organization whose mission is to encourage healthy physical activity in people of all ages, and reverse the consequences of a sedentary lifestyle to improve the health and well-being of the country. Walk With a Doc was started in 2005 by Dr. Sabgir, a board-certified cardiologist in Columbus, Ohio, who practices with the Mount Carmel Health System. To learn more, go to the Walk With a Doc website.
Brent Annear (512) 370-1381; cell: (512) 656-7320; email: brent.annear[at]texmed[dot]org
Marcus Cooper (512) 370-1382; cell: (512) 650-5336; email: marcus.cooper[at]texmed[dot]org
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