Your elderly family member may start to lose a lot of weight unexpectedly if she has COPD. This happens for a lot of different reasons, but it’s part of why focusing on a healthy diet is so important for someone who does have COPD.
The Abdomen Is Kind of a Small Area
Your elderly family member’s organs are all kind of crammed into her abdominal cavity together. That means that her lungs are sharing space with a lot of other organs. With COPD, breathing becomes more difficult and her lungs need as much room as they can get to expand. But they may not always have all the space they need in order to expand. Part of that has to do with the other organs sharing the space, part of that has to do with the fact that COPD changes her lungs and can cause them to swell due to inflammation. What does all of that mean? Well, your senior may find that she doesn’t have as much room in her stomach as she did, which can cause her to eat less.
How She Feels Affects Her Appetite
But there are other impacts on your senior’s appetite, too, like how she’s feeling. If she’s anxious about her health or if she’s feeling depressed about things she can’t do any longer, she may not be eating as much as she used to. This in turn can make her feel worse, including more tired and more worn out. And that can become a vicious cycle in which those feelings keep getting fed, even if her body isn’t.
What She’s Eating Can Affect Her Breathing
When she does eat, your elderly family member may be choosing foods that are impacting her ability to breathe. Foods that create gas take up space and don’t necessarily leave room for much else in your elderly family member’s system. If she drinks a lot of soda, she might run into a similar problem. There’s a lot to consider when it comes to what she’s eating, especially if her dietary choices haven’t always leaned toward nutritious in the past.
She’s Burning a Lot of Calories
Something else to remember is that even if your elderly family member isn’t taking in a lot of calories in her diet, she’s burning a lot of calories. It takes a lot of energy to breathe, and the more difficult breathing becomes the more calories your senior is burning simply by being alive. There’s a delicate balance between intake and outflow that your elderly family member may not be able to get back to when she’s dealing with advanced COPD.
Dietary considerations and weight are a huge issue for people with COPD. Your elderly family member may need help dealing with the energy required to make sure she’s eating as well as possible. That’s why having a caregiver she can rely on to help with meals can be an important addition to her care plan.