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COPD Health Center

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Action Set
COPD: Avoiding Weight Loss

Some people with severe chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD)—especially those with emphysema—may be underweight and malnourished.

  • People with COPD often lose weight. When you lose weight, you lose muscle mass, including the muscles that help you breathe. This may make breathing more difficult.
  • Some people with COPD weigh too little for good health. It's dangerous to become very underweight. It may affect how long you are expected to live.1
  • To avoid losing weight and muscle mass, you generally need to eat more foods containing fat and protein. Because eating too much fat and targeting certain nutrients (such as protein) may have health risks, always consult with your doctor or a registered dietitian before eating more of these foods to gain weight.

how.gif  How do I avoid weight loss in COPD?

Up Next in This Action Set:


  1. Global Initiative for Chronic Obstructive Lung Disease (2013). Global Strategy for the Diagnosis, Management, and Prevention of COPD. Available online:

By Healthwise Staff
Primary Medical Reviewer E. Gregory Thompson, MD - Internal Medicine
Specialist Medical Reviewer Ken Y. Yoneda, MD - Pulmonology
Current as of November 14, 2013

WebMD Medical Reference from Healthwise

Last Updated: November 14, 2013
This information is not intended to replace the advice of a doctor. Healthwise disclaims any liability for the decisions you make based on this information.

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