Treating Obesity to Treat COPD

Being one of the prominent symptoms of chronic obstructive lung disease (COPD), dyspnea (shortness of breath) is known to be exacerbated in patients with coexistent obesity. However, despite the negative impacts of obesity, one speaks of an “obesity paradox” when it comes to survival: Studies reveal a paradoxical survival advantage in overweight and obese COPD individuals. Is obesity rather a threat or an advantage in COPD treatment? In the following, we will be shedding light on this very topic, based on a recent study.
With the obesity rates rising among the COPD patients, reaching almost 42%, it becomes more and more relevant to recognize obesity as a treatable trait. The reason why is because the shortness of breath among those patients persists despite optimal medical care. This is where personalized lifestyle interventions targeting weight loss in patients become essential. The main goal to reach is not only to alleviate dyspnea and enhance quality of life but also to address broader health risks associated with obesity, such as cardiovascular disease and diabetes.
The study we will briefly touch upon explores the significance of the relationship between recognizing obesity and acting in line with it, and improvement in results of COPD treatment.
This study examines COPD patients with a BMI (body-mass- index) over 34 and significant dyspnea for 12 weeks. Their diet, daily steps, and weight are tracked, while providing weekly health coaching through motivational interviewing
Started with 19 patients and completed by 13 of them, the study provided promising results both on quantitative and qualitative level. First off, the average weight loss was 6.9% at 3 months and 9.0% at 6 months. One could also speak of a dyspnea improvement measured by the Chronic Respiratory Questionnaire (CRQ) beyond the minimal clinically important difference (MCID). Beside the above mentioned quantitative results, it was recorded that participants expressed enthusiasm in participating, identified barriers in their daily lives such as comorbidities and lack of motivation and they also recommended personalization and extended support.
To conclude, one can definitely see significant improvements in dyspnea and weight loss observed in severe obesity and COPD patients. These results also suggest a sustainable intervention that fills a knowledge gap. Of course, limitations to this study are also acknowledged due to the usage of a small sample, however, this does not change the fact that lifestyle intervention targeting weight loss through health coaching is feasible and effective. This research also highlights the need and potential opportunities for improvement that include personalization and extended support.
As proven by recent research, nutrition, diet and exercise play a crucial role in COPD treatment and the improvement of quality of life in COPD patients. Click here to inform yourself more about the relationship between COPD and nutrition.
As Breathment, we know that COPD comes with many aspects, both psychological and physiological. The Breathment Therapy App not only provides pulmonary rehabilitation exercises, but also educational content on nutrition, mental health and more. In addition to having access to these, you can also contact your personal physiotherapist anytime, anywhere. Book an appointment with Breathment now to see the benefits of having your symptoms taken care of from the comfort of your home.