How does obesity affect chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD)?

Obesity tends to worsen all medical conditions, and this is particularly true with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD). With COPD, you have obstructed breathing, with shortness of breath, congestion and cough. Obesity can limit the ability of your lungs to function by weighing them down and further worsening your ability to breathe.

There is a higher prevalence of overweight and obesity in the early chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) population compared with the general population, but a paradoxically lower body mass index (BMI) in people with moderate to severe COPD (GOLD stages 3 and 4) is a marker for poor prognosis over the next 1-3 years.

In COPD and obesity, low-grade inflammation and arterial hypoxemia have been associated with a reduction in skeletal muscle tissue, a decrease in muscle fat oxidative capacity, a shift from muscle fiber type 1 (slow twitch) to type 2 (fast twitch) and a loss of respiratory muscle performance.

Physiological and metabolic factors related to COPD and obesity seems to jeopardize morbidity and mortality further when in association. Further studies are being undertaken to investigate the relationship.

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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.