With malnutrition affecting multiple aspects of COPD, but treatment shown to be of benefit in this patient population, the authors of a review published in Respiratory Medicine suggest that clinical practice include nutrition management. “Measuring their body mass index is recommended and Health care professionals should endeavour to ensure that COPD patients are achieving their nutritional requirements,” they write. Based on existing evidence indicating that 1.2 million people in the UK have COPD, among whom 25% to 40% are underweight and 35% have a severely low fat-free mass index, the authors completed a systematic review to summarize evidence from 28 original papers, covering 15 years, on the impact of malnutrition on COPD and the management of malnutrition in patients with COPD. They found that malnutrition has negative effects on exercise, muscle function, and lung function, while also increasing exacerbations, mortality, and costs. Nutritional supplementation as a management option may increase weight and muscle function, according to the review, with nutritional education resulting in only short-term improvements.
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