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Feature Article

Complexities in managing obesity in COPD

PHILIP MASEL, ALICE DORING, NICCI MUGGERIDGE, MARK ROLL

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© PIXOLOGICSTUDIO/SPL
© PIXOLOGICSTUDIO/SPL

Abstract

The coexistence of overweight or obesity and COPD presents both diagnostic and management challenges; however, strategies are available for some patients with these comorbidities to safely lose weight, maintain lean muscle mass and improve exercise tolerance.

Key Points

  • The ‘obesity paradox’ in which mortality appears to be lower in obese patients with COPD than in their normal-weight counterparts is overemphasised in importance.
  • The combination of obesity and COPD is associated with decreased exercise tolerance and increased dyspnoea and cardiovascular risk in affected patients.
  • Obesity and COPD are two heterogeneous chronic conditions with increasing prevalence.
  • There are safe ways for obese patients with COPD to lose weight, maintain lean muscle mass and improve fitness.
  • Strategies to encourage healthy lifestyle changes and education on the importance of adequate protein intake can be implemented by GPs in some overweight and obese patients with COPD.

Figures

© PIXOLOGICSTUDIO/SPL
© PIXOLOGICSTUDIO/SPL