What is COPD?
COPD is an umbrella term for a.o. some of the lung diseases chronic bronchitis and pulmonary emphysema. It’s s an incurable disease with severe anguish as main feature. Simply put, COPD is a disease in which the lungs are always full of small infections, which cause permanent damage. Shortage of breath when for example climbing stairs, working or getting dressed is a common complaint.
In the Netherlands, more than 320.000 people are diagnosed with COPD. There are another 300.000 people with a very high risk of getting COPD, without them knowing it.
COPD is the fifth leading cause of death in the world and will continue to climb up on the list of causes of death. COPD is usually only effects people of old age, but sometimes because of a genetic disease even at a younger age.
In case of chronic bronchitis, the bronchial tubes (the branches of the trachea to the lungs) are always inflamed. Because of this, your body will created more mucus and breathing will get harder.
In case of pulmonary emphysema, more and more alveoli will get lost. The alveoli ensure that the oxygen reaches the blood after inhaling, and that the waste can be exhaled again. The fewer alveoli you have, the harder this becomes.
The role of the dietitian
The dietitian is an important part of the multidisciplinary care around the COPD patient. If the nutritional status deteriorates, the following may occur:
- Body weight loss
- Loss of muscular mass
- Weakening of respiratory muscles
- Drop of the body’s resistance
- Deteriorating quality of life
- Increase of exacerbations (inflammation)
- Longer hospital stay
- More risk on complications
So a well calculated dietary advise that addresses sufficient protein intake is essential! Also, the dietitian can give you many tips in case of common complaints such as salivation, dry mouth, tiredness, decreased appetite. And if necessary regulate dietary remuneration for supplementary nutrition.
With what can we help you?
We can give you a well calculated dietary advice, which is custom-made. When we do this, we can calculate your energy needs and muscle mass. We’ll go through your current diet and living situation, in which we take everything into account. In addition, we can assist you in familiarizing yourself with your new diet. We can assist you by giving tips and tricks on how to get enough energy and proteins, even if you suffer from tiredness, mucus or if you're short of breath. Improving your nutritional status is our focus. You will notice that if this improves, certain symptoms will reduce.