Many older adults who have COPD tend to lose weight quite suddenly, even if they’ve had COPD for years. The reasons for this boil down to how COPD affects your senior’s body and the fuel that she needs in order to keep going.
Lung Inflammation Affects the Stomach
One of the hallmarks of COPD is that the lungs become inflamed. Over time, that inflammation can actually increase the size of the lungs. When that happens, they take up more space in the abdominal cavity. That leaves less space for organs like the stomach to expand when your elderly family member eats. In fact, eating can become uncomfortable for your senior and she might find that when she eats more than a little bit of food, she has trouble breathing.
It Takes More Calories to Breathe Now
The human body burns calories just by functioning. Every bit of what your senior does, from eating to walking to thinking, burns calories. That’s why those calories, or fuel, need to be replenished by eating. When your senior is burning more fuel than she’s taking in, her body is going to pull fuel from fat and muscle stores in the body. Fighting to breathe takes much more energy than it used to take and this can show up as weight loss.
Some Foods Can Make COPD Worse
Some foods, like carbonated sodas, can obviously make COPD worse because the carbonation contributes to bloating. Other foods that seem like a healthy choice, such as broccoli or cauliflower, are equally bad for COPD sufferers because they can make bloating worse. Talk with your elderly family member’s doctor about which and do what you can to modify her diet.
Depression and Anxiety Are Extremely Common
COPD creates some really big changes in your senior’s life and it can be a scary diagnosis to receive. Your elderly family member may not be able to engage in some of the activities that she’s always loved most. She might experience depression and anxiety because of these factors. Both can affect your elderly family member’s appetite and can cause weight loss in the long run.
It’s really important to keep an eye on your senior’s weight fluctuations as her COPD worsens. Work with her doctor to determine how best to get her the calories that she needs. Home care providers can help you to prepare meals and to ensure that your senior is eating the right foods at the right times.
IF YOU OR AN AGING LOVED ONE ARE CONSIDERING IN-HOME CARE IN SUMMERLIN, NV, PLEASE CONTACT THE CARING STAFF AT GOLDEN HEART SENIOR CARE. CALL TODAY 702-800-4616.