Overly Thin COPD Patients at Added Risk

COPD patients who remain underweight or have heart disease are at an increased risk of death

/ Author:  / Reviewed by: Joseph V. Madia, MD

(RxWiki News) Being underweight isn't healthy in general, but it can be especially dangerous for Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease patients.

COPD patients who remain underweight are at a higher risk of death as compared to patients of a normal body weight. Those with heart disease also were found to be at an added risk.

"Manage blood pressure, cholesterol, as well as your weight to lower health risks."

Dr. Bjorn Stallberg, a doctor from Uppsala University in Sweden, said, that as the population continues to age, individuals are more likely to suffer from more than one condition at a time. He emphasized that it remains important for physicians to recognize symptoms outside of their specialty areas to ensure that patients receive the necessary treatment.

He said the study has shown that heart disease and being underweight are very serious conditions and should be taken into consideration when managing COPD patients.

The World Health Organization has predicted that COPD will become the third leading cause of death worldwide by 2030. A number of medical conditions often accompany COPD, including cardiovascular disease, muscle wasting, type 2 diabetes and asthma.

Researchers enrolled 552 patients. They asked participants to complete questionnaires about age, education, smoking status and level of care. They also looked at information about lung function and history of other diseases or health conditions. Adjustments were made for factors including age, sex, smoking and lung function.

They found that heart disease, high blood pressure and being underweight all were linked to higher mortality in COPD patients. Those who were underweight were 1.7 times more likely to die as compared to COPD patients of a normal body weight. People with heart disease or heart failure were 1.9 times more likely to die than those who only suffered from COPD.
The research was presented on Sept. 26 at the European Respiratory Society's Annual Congress in Amsterdam.

Reviewed by: 
Review Date: 
September 27, 2011
Last Updated:
October 1, 2011