Healthy Lifestyle Interventions in General Practice. Part 3: Lifestyle and Chronic Respiratory Disease

  • MP Schwellnus
  • DN Patel
  • C Nossel
  • M Dreyer
  • S Whitesman
  • R Derman


Chronic respiratory diseases, in particular chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), can be classified as a part of the chronic diseases of lifestyle. A lifestyle intervention programme is therefore an essential component of the non-pharmacological management of COPD and other chronic respiratory diseases. The main indication for referral to a lifestyle intervention programme is any symptomatic patient with either COPD or any other chronic respiratory disease, and who also has limited functional capacity. Following a comprehensive initial assessment, patients are recommended to attend either a group-based programme (medically supervised or medically directed, depending on the severity of the disease and the presence of any co-morbidities) or a home-based intervention programme. The main elements of the intervention programme are smoking cessation, exercise training (minimum of three times per week), education, psychosocial support and nutritional support. Regular monitoring should be conducted during training sessions, and a follow-up assessment is indicated after 2-3 months to assess progress and to re-set goals. Longer-term (56 months) intervention programmes are associated with better long-term outcomes.

South African Family Practice Vol. 50 (6) 2008: pp. 6-3

Journal Identifiers

eISSN: 2078-6204
print ISSN: 2078-6190