The high prevalence of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) has considerable economic and health-related impact. The consequences arise largely from limitations on a patient's activity and shortened life expectancy. Low body weight has recently been implicated as a factor affecting limitations. Although the reason is not clear, weight loss appears to affect many patients (from 25 to 35% in different series), at least in Europe and North America. However, the situation is thought to be different in the Mediterranean area. OBJECTIVE: To estimate the prevalence of the low weight syndrome in patients with COPD in our area. METHODS: COPD patient characteristics monitored by our laboratory over the last two years (2000 and 2001) were reviewed. RESULTS: The prevalence of a body mass index (BMI) less than 20 kg/m2was only 6.6% among the 3,126 patients studied. That percentage fell to 3.1% with a cutoff of 18 kg/m2. The figure was even more striking if we consider that half the patients had severe disease (FEV1< 50% of reference). BMI was directly related to FEV1/FC and CO transfer. CONCLUSIONS: These results suggest that COPD patients in our geographic area have characteristics that distinguish them from those previously described in other countries. Specifically, the prevalence of low weight syndrome in our area appears to be lower. However, larger studies should be performed to confirm this finding.
|Journal||Archivos de Bronconeumologia|
|Publication status||Published - 1 Dec 2002|
- Patient characteristics