Figure A : Normal lungs      /       Figure B: Lungs with COPD

Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease, known as COPD for short, is a progressive upper respiratory disease which diminishes the volume of air received in the lungs (NHLBI, 2017). There are several mechanisms which contribute to decreased lung volume, such as air sacks losing elasticity, the walls of the airway become inflamed, the walls of the air sacks become destroyed, and so forth (NHLBI, 2017). A wide arrange of treatments are available today, such as steroids, bronchodilators, and vaccines (NIH, 2017), although there is a shift to more natural treatments, fighting COPD through diet therapy.

The causes of COPD are most commonly those related to long term smoking, but are not limited to the genetic factors and asthma as well. Approximately 75% of all documented cases of COPD are found in smokers, or former smokers (NHLBI, 2017). Today, there are less smokers than there were in the past, and the fastest method to improve from the symptoms of COPD is to stop smoking (NIH, 2017). Now, there is a growing popularity in diet therapy, as an addition treatment to COPD by finding alternative, healthy food options which take place of medications.

The power of food is abundant, they contain the necessary vitamins and nutrients necessary to carry out daily activities, and to maintain a health lifestyle. Diet therapy, which uses nutritional treatment through food, is being observed for their benefits, especially in the positive treatment of COPD patients. In a meta-analysis of several studies, physical function of COPD patients, such as lack of breathlessness, inspiration/expiratory volume, handgrip strength and walking distance were all improved in as little as 2 weeks, and on average in 12 weeks, amongst patients when introduced to nutritional intervention (Akner, 2016). Furthermore, a double blind randomized trial on Vitamin D3 supplementation in COPD patients, observed relief and protection from mild to severe exacerbation (Martineau, 2015).

Diet therapy appears to be critical in the treatment of COPD patients. On average, the nutritional status among COPD patients appears to be poor. Using quality of life questionnaires, among all COPD patients, 60% suffer from obesity, and another 27% were overweight (Mekal, 2015). It is more likely with poorer nutritional status, that nutritional disorders are more likely to occur.

Improving the diet, and using nutrition as therapy has been beneficial for the quality of life for COPD patients. There have been numerous studies which demonstrate increases in tasks such as walking, grip strength, and lack of breathlessness. The drastic changes just by introducing diet changes occur because the nutritional status of COPD patients is extremely low, and nutritional disorders are more likely to occur. The power of food is evident as a method of treatment, and to help alleviate some of the symptoms suffered amongst COPD patients.

This article is property of We Speak Science, a nonprofit institution co-founded by Dr. DetinaZalli (Harvard University) and Dr. ArgitaZalli (Imperial College London). The article is written by Antonio Del Vecchio (Cornell University, Division of Nutritional Sciences).

 

COPYRIGHT: This article is property of We Speak Science, a nonprofit institution co-founded by Dr. DetinaZalli (Harvard University) and Dr. Argita Zalli (Imperial College London). The article is written by Antonio Del Vecchio (Cornell University, Division of Nutritional Sciences).

REFERENCES:

Akner, Gunnar, and Kjell Larsson. "Undernutrition state in patients with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease. A critical appraisal on diagnostics and treatment." Respiratory medicine117 (2016): 81-91.

Martineau, Adrian R., et al. "Vitamin D 3 supplementation in patients with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (ViDiCO): a multicentre, double-blind, randomised controlled trial." The lancet Respiratory medicine 3.2 (2015): 120-130.

Mękal, D., et al. "Nutritional status in chronic obstructive pulmonary disease and systemic sclerosis: two systemic diseases involving the respiratory system." Body Metabolism and Exercise. Springer International Publishing, 2014. 45-49.

https://www.nhlbi.nih.gov/health-topics/copd

https://report.nih.gov/nihfactsheets/ViewFactSheet.aspx?csid=77

https://lungdiseasenews.com/2015/09/29/copd-increases-chances-developing-small-cell-cancer-lungs/ (Picture)