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Which Factors Affect Quality of Life in COPD?

Alison Rodriguez
Older age, dyspnea, longer duration of illness, comorbidities, and use of oxygen hurt quality of life for those with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease.
Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) is considered to be a significant challenge and remains a leading cause of morbidity and mortality worldwide. A recent study, which evaluated the impact of selected sociodemographic and clinical factors on a patient’s quality of life (QOL), found that COPD patients’ age decreases the levels of both QOL and level of illness acceptance (LIA), while factors including dyspnea, longer duration of illness, comorbidities, oxygen therapy undertaking, affect the deterioration of QOL.


The study evaluated 100 patients who had COPD for at least half a year and were treated at a clinic at Wroclaw Medical University in Poland. In order to assess QOL and LIA, the researchers used standardized questionnaires, including Short Form-36 Health Survey, Saint George’s Respiratory Questionnaire, Acceptance of Illness Scale, and COPD Author’s Questionnaire.

“The life of people with a chronic disease changes dramatically and leads to significant deterioration in its quality. Comparing the needs with existing reality, especially in chronic diseases, occurs on many levels of quality of life (QOL),” explained the authors. “The studies conducted on the QOL are an attempt to assess the influence of disease on all areas of human life. The progress of medicine that has taken place in recent years has not significantly reduced morbidity and mortality resulting from chronic diseases.”

The main results included:
  • QOL level was not dependent of the sex of the patient.
  • Higher education levels improved QOL scores.
  • The increasing age of a patient decreases the level of QOL and LIA.
  • Determinants such as exacerbation of dyspnea, longer duration of illness, comorbidities, use of oxygen therapy, and positive family history of respiratory disease affected QOL negatively.
  • Positive family history of respiratory disorders translated to lower QOL and lower LIA in COPD patients.
  • Longer disease duration affected QOL in COPD patients and significantly reduced LIA.

The researchers noted that assessment and identification of selected sociodemographic and clinical factors in COPD patients are likely to improve the QOL and LIA and optimize management, while also leading to better patient outcomes.

“Today, increasing attention is paid to QOL in chronic diseases of the respiratory system. Health-related QOL studies confirm that people with COPD require holistic approach by health care workers who should take into account not only the medical parameters but also other indicators that influence the overall well-being, that is, mental status or socioeconomic status,” concluded the authors. “Thus, it is necessary to carry out studies detecting potential determinants affecting the assessment of QOL in COPD patients, and identifying these factors will be helpful in planning comprehensive care plan for this group of patients.”

Future studies are necessary to evaluate the number and severity of comorbidities that may influence the results of relationships involved in the duration of the disease.


Rosińczuk J, Przyszlak M, Uchmanowicz I. Sociodemographic and clinical factors affecting the quality of life of patients with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease. [published online September 12, 2018]. nt J Chron Obstruct Pulmon Dis. doi: 10.2147/COPD.S165714.

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