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Feature Article

Malnutrition in COPD: a cause and effect of morbidity

NICCI MUGGERIDGE, JOHN MACKINTOSH, PHILIP MASEL

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Abstract

The complex relationship between chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) and nutrition is often underappreciated because the focus is usually on the management of dyspnoea and acute exacerbations. Nutrition is often compromised in patients with COPD and identifying this may assist in reducing the burden of the disease.

Key Points

  • Malnutrition is under-recognised in patients with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), and it both results from and contributes to the course of the disease.
  • The pathophysiology of malnutrition in COPD is complex and multifactorial.
  • Assessment of nutrition and management of malnutrition is an adjunct to standard COPD interventions.
  • Screening for malnutrition should occur in all patients with COPD and should include more than just a standalone measure of body weight.
  • Nutritional supplementation can be implemented by GPs.
  • Referral to dietitians can be helpful in individualising nutritional support.

    Picture credit: © BSIP/Diomedia.com
    Model used for illustrative purposes only

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