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Nutritional status, gender and marital status in patients with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease

Authors


Correspondence: Sigrid Odencrants, Senior Lecturer, School of Health and Medical Sciences, Örebro University, S-701 82 Örebro, Sweden. Telephone: +46 19 30 11 33.

E-mail: sigrid.odencrants@oru.se

Abstract

Aim and objectives

To describe and compare nutritional status, pulmonary function, gender and marital status in patients with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease.

Background

Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease is a chronic illness that can lead to poor nutritional status due to an increased energy requirements related to laboured breathing. Inadequate nutritional intake has often been described in this patient group. Nutritional support for patients with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease who suffer from nutritional problems is essential, both for their sense of well-being and for their survival with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease.

Design

The study design was descriptive and comparative.

Methods

Quantitative data collection was carried out among 81 patients with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (47 women and 34 men) with an average age of 65 years (SD 3·5). The Mini Nutritional Assessment was used to assess nutritional status.

Results

Participants who lived alone had worse nutritional status than those who did not live alone, and female participants had worse nutritional status than their male counterparts. No significant correlation was found between pulmonary function and nutritional status.

Conclusions

This study contributes knowledge of a potential correlation between nutritional status, gender and marital status in patients with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease. Women with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease may be at an increased risk of malnutrition. Despite the previous results showing malnutrition and underweight to be common, the present study found that many of the participants were overweight, which may reflect a global health trend regardless of disease.

Relevance to clinical practice

Early identification of patients at risk of malnutrition is important. Registered nurses should be aware that patients with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease who are female or who live alone may be at an increased risk of nutritional problems. Patients with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease must be offered information and support for individually adapted measures at an early stage in order to avoid nutritional problems, regardless of under- and overweight.

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