New research published in the Annals of the American Thoracic Society found that COPD patients may walk differently than patients without COPD, and this might explain an elevated fall risk in these patients.

Patients with COPD walk with increased duration of time between steps and this timing is more variable. They also walk with a narrower step width in which the variability of the step widths from step-to-step is decreased. Changes in these parameters have been related to increased risk of falling in aging research. This provides a mechanism that could explain the increased prevalence of falls in COPD patients.

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