Causes of Malnutrition
- Lack of one or more vitamins in the diet
- Inadequate food intake
- Inability to absorb or digest food
Symptoms of Malnutrition
Symptoms of malnutrition can vary, from mild to very severe. General symptoms include:
- Weight loss
- Extreme lack of energy
- Weakened immune system
How Is Malnutrition Related to COPD?
Malnutrition can be a complication of COPD. Why? One reason is because dyspnea -- the hallmark symptom of COPD -- makes it extremely difficult for COPD patients to complete a meal. It can also make patients feel like they don't have an appetite at all.
How Can COPD Patients Prevent Malnutrition?
People with COPD require 10 times as many calories as healthy people to breathe. Insufficient calories related to dyspnea leads to a lack of energy. Lack of energy makes it even more difficult to breathe or complete any type of activity. An increase in dyspnea related to lack of energy makes it nearly impossible to eat. The cycle will continue if not somehow interrupted.
The best way to supplement calories without having to eat more to do so, is to eat foods that are higher in calories. The following article includes a list of healthy, high calorie foods to add to your shopping list: