Why Does COPD Cause Weight Loss?

man eating microwave dinner

Living with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) means finding ways to breathe easier, but shortness of breath – dyspnea – doesn’t only affect your lungs. Shortness of breath can also make it difficult to eat, leading to another common complication of COPD: malnutrition.

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According to the American Lung Association, some COPD patients require 10 times as many calories to breathe than a healthy person. Following a diet that gives your body enough energy for breathing and eating is critical with COPD. Prolonged malnutrition leads to unhealthy weight loss and is linked to a decrease in survival among COPD patients.