In this medical video see how researchers are exploring the use of testosterone and weight-lifting to build muscle in women with chronic lung disease.
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Jennifer Mathews: Walks like these were once hard to imagine for Pat Ternstrom. After 40 years of smoking, she has COPD, a lung disease that plaques many smokers. Pat Ternstrom: I became pretty much like a couch potato. I would do things as long as I didn't have to walk. Jennifer Mathews: Dr. Richard Casaburi says that's a common result for many people with the disease. Richard Casaburi: These people will struggle to breathe. They will be unable to exercise. Jennifer Mathews: That lack of exercise weakens muscles and leaves patients with little strength. Richard Casaburi: We found that working on their muscles definitely benefits the patients, so that they can sort of overcome their lung limitations. Jennifer Mathews: D.r Casaburi is helping women build muscle with weights and weekly injections of testosterone. Richard Casaburi: Testosterone is not just a man's hormone. You can get muscle mass gains -- up to 18 pounds of muscle -- from testosterone administration for fairly high doses. Jennifer Mathews: Even low doses could boost muscle mass in women. Along with the hormone, women lift weights three times a week for ten weeks. Richard Casaburi: These people will recondition their muscles, and they can function an awful lot better. Jennifer Mathews: Pat says her new strength has had a big impact. Pat Ternstrom: I feel -- I would say a 100% better. I feel like I was almost reborn again. Jennifer Mathews: At 77, her new muscles are keeping Pat full of energy and life. This is Jennifer Mathews reporting.