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How COPD Medications Interact With Foods and Nutrients


Corticosteroids: cortisone or prednisone (Cortan, Deltasone, Liquid Pred, Meticorten, Orasone, Panasol-S, Prednicen-M): These medicines can cause weight gain in two ways. (1) They promote sodium and water retention. (2) They cause increased appetite and an increase in body fat. A careful diet and a schedule of meals can help to control appetite. (Refer to the section earlier in this chapter regarding the benefits of maintaining a healthy weight.)

The fluid retention problems are more complex. Fluid retention needs to be closely monitored by a doctor. Your doctor may instruct you to follow a low-sodium, potassium-rich or high-protein diet. Excess fluid retention can be a serious problem. Your health care provider''s instructions should be carefully followed. (For additional information on this topic, refer to the section in this chapter on fluids.) These drugs also cause a slow loss of calcium from bones. This can result in osteoporosis. Bones become more brittle and susceptible to fractures. This may be minimized by paying attention to dietary calcium or by supplementing your diet with calcium and Vitamin D. (Refer to the section in this chapter on calcium.) If the use of corticosteroids causes an upset stomach, the medicine should be taken with food or milk.

Inhaled forms of corticosteroids, like beclomethasone (Vanceril), budesonide (Pulmicort), and fluticasone propionate (Flovent): These drugs have significantly fewer side effects. And there are no food interactions that have been identified with these forms of steroids.


Furosemide (Lasix); triamterene/hydrochlorothiazide (Dyazide, Maxzide, Hydrodiuril); triamterene (Dyrenium); numetamide (Bumex); metolazone (Zaroxolyn): Diuretics vary in their interactions with foods and specific nutrients. Many diuretics cause a loss of potassium, calcium and  magnesium. Eating foods rich in minerals will be helpful to avoid low levels. Potassium-rich foods include bananas, oranges, green leafy vegetables and salt substitutes that contain potassium. Triamterene, on the other hand, is known as a "potassium-sparing" diuretic. It blocks the kidney''s release of potassium. It can cause increased blood levels of potassium. Low blood levels of potassium are linked with the risk of irregular heartbeat and palpitations. Individuals taking this drug should avoid eating large amounts of potassium-rich foods such as bananas, oranges, green leafy vegetables or salt substitutes that contain potassium.

Good nutrition is a key factor in managing your lung disease.

If you have COPD, the importance of good nutrition cannot be overemphasized. Maintaining an optimum weight helps to support lung function. It also reduces the risks for having other disease problems. Good nutrition supplies your body with the energy it needs to join physical activities, including the work of breathing. And it allows you to enjoy a higher quality of life.


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