Figured an update on some of the research that has been going on pertaining to COPD would or could be beneficial. There has been a reoccurring theme presenting itself in all the research that is occurring and it has been noticed that osteoporosis is strongly associated with those that have COPD. Basically, research has shown that those with COPD are at higher risk of developing osteoporosis. Okay, most people are at risk for osteoporosis with the common risk factors such as age, smoking, genetics and inactivity, so how are those with COPD at higher risk?? Those with COPD are at a higher risk due to COPD related systemic inflammation, vitamin D deficiency and due to the use of corticosteriods that enhance ongoing bone destruction.
Now you are wonder why having this knowledge is so important and how does this correlate with nutrition?
Well, the simple answer for the first part of the question above is that with osteoporosis comes bone structure changes that can cause issues with someone's breathing and when you have COPD breathing can be difficult on a normal basis without further complications. Basically, with osteoporosis the spine curves and with fragile bones it can result in multiple compression fractures which decreases one's ability to expand their ribs fully.
Now for the second part of the question above along with why this information is so important to know. With knowledge you can be more proactive by talking with your doctor and requesting them to complete a blood panel on your vitamin D and calcium levels or you can advocate for further testing depending if you want to know if you actually have osteoporosis for sure or not. Depends on you and what you want. Sometimes we have to self advocate even with our doctors. Furthermore, to answer the question about how nutrition can play a part in this. Well, this is where you have control. You can change what you eat and what supplements you take. Foods such as berries can help with decreasing inflammation and so can some spices such as turmeric. Just like some foods can decrease inflammation, some foods can increase inflammation such as salt, sugar (high fructose corn syrup), processed meats etc. Also you can control your intake with foods that promote calcium and vitamin D along with supplements etc.
Okay, stopping here- so that dairy products can be addressed. Those that have reached out that have COPD have stated that they avoid dairy products and there does appear to be a shortage on the subject. However with what studies that are out there which are based on various lung conditions from asthma to those with the common cold, these studies have shown that dairy does NOT cause more mucus. What these studies have shown is that dairy products can cause existing mucus to become thicker. This is a personal decision on whether or not you consume dairy products or not. Not saying you have to because fortification of calcium can be located in various cereals, almond milk or soy milk products etc. Now if you wish to consume dairy products minimally, so that you don't miss out on the calcium, vitamin D, vitamin A, magnesium, selenium and other nutrients that dairy products can provide. There are some steps you can take to help thin the mucus - drink lots of water (unless you have Congestive heart failure or another issue that lots of water will cause further harm to you) and/or use an airway device (ie Intrapulmonary Percussive Ventilation (IPV) device) to help with lessening the existing mucus. Again, ultimately, the decision is yours to make, just make sure the decision that is made is beneficial and right for you. Again knowledge is a powerful tool.
Last factor in all of this is please don't over do supplements and/or foods rich in calcium and/or vitamin D or with anything actually because just like there are issues with to little, there can be issues with to much too. Remember we need balance and this is not to override what your medical care doctor or doctors are recommending. In no way should you stop any medicines that are prescribed by a doctor. This post is for informational purposes to let you know there are other ways that can help support what you may need through foods and/or possibly supplements if necessary.
***For information on Osteoporosis and calcium check out the blog post here- https://www.5elementscoaching.org/blog/osteoporosis-and-calcium...
Inoue, D., Watanabe, R., & Okazaki, R. (2016). COPD and osteoporosis: links, risks, and treatment challenges. International journal of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, 11, 637–648. https://doi.org/10.2147/COPD.S79638
Sarkar, M., Bhardwaj, R., Madabhavi, I., & Khatana, J. (2015). Osteoporosis in chronic obstructive pulmonary disease. Clinical medicine insights. Circulatory, respiratory and pulmonary medicine, 9, 5–21. https://doi.org/10.4137/CCRPM.S22803
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