New study aims to keep people with lung disease more active

May 22, 2019 06:17 PM

Minnesota researchers have taken the lead on a project designed to help people with lung disease live longer.

The clinical trial through the Minnesota Lung Center is investigating how portable tanks much smaller in size can keep people more active.

Mayo Clinic says regular exercise can improve overall strength and ease anxiety and depression for patients suffering from Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease.

"The best thing you can do if you have COPD is get out and walk," said Dr. Patrick Wright, the lead investigator with the MLC. "If you have severe COPD and need oxygen to walk, this makes it a lot easier."

Find more details on the Minnesota Lung Center and their studies here

A total of 11 million people in the U.S. have COPD. And many of them rely on oxygen tanks to help them breathe.

The MLC said about 20 people are enrolled in the program so far.

Sharon Mork is one of them. The 80-year-old has had health complications since she was 56.

She and the others are using a battery-operated machine that pulls oxygen out of the air, and they wear a device that tracks their movement. Mork said it's much smaller and quieter than the tanks she's used before.

And she's getting out of the house more often.

"I went to my granddaughter's concert," she said. "This is the first concert I've been able to go (to) for about four years."

The portable oxygen tank may or may not be covered by some insurance companies. It sells for around $3,000.


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Leah McLean

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