Most of us know that eating healthy foods is important for a healthy life. But for people with certain health problems, proper nutrition is more than just a good idea. Today, experts know that nutrition is an essential part of managing many health problems, including lung disease and COPD.
Therapeutic nutrition—or the use of specific nutrients and food products in the right quantity to help manage a health problem—is a good way for you to take care of your own health or the health of a loved one. Therapeutic nutrition cannot prevent health problems, but it may help reduce medical care and complications and hospital stay.
Therapeutic nutrition works by making sure that your body gets the balanced mix of the nutrients it needs to fight an ongoing health problem. Your doctor or registered dietitian may recommend using it by itself or along with other medical care.
COPD is a group of lung diseases that cause the airways of the lungs to become inflamed and narrowed. This stops the lung fibers from stretching and returning to their normal shape. The most common types of lung disease are emphysema and chronic bronchitis. People with COPD often experience shortness of breath, which can make preparing and eating meals difficult.
Eating foods high in carbohydrates may make breathing difficult for people with COPD. This is because when carbohydrate foods are broken down for energy, more carbon dioxide is produced than when protein or fat is broken down. The lungs must work hard to breath out the carbon dioxide. To help people get the energy they need, carbohydrates are replaced with beneficial fats, such as those found in olive, canola, or soybean oils. For example, Pulmocare® can help patients with COPD get the nutrients and calories they need. It is a high-calorie, low-carbohydrate therapeutic nutrition supplement that helps reduce diet-induced carbon dioxide production. Talk to your doctor or registered dietitian to find out which therapeutic nutrition product is right for you or your loved one.
Everyone should try to eat a balanced diet to help maintain good overall health, even if you do not have a chronic health problem. However, therapeutic nutrition is different from simply choosing healthy foods for yourself and your family. It provides important nutrients that can help you manage lung disease or COPD. You may use therapeutic nutrition in addition to regular meals or choose to occasionally replace some foods with these products.
Some people use therapeutic nutrition products to help them stay stronger in the face of illness and respond better to medical care, such as surgery. Talk to your health care professional to make sure that therapeutic nutrition is right for you.
Always start by talking to your health care professional. Your doctor may refer you to a registered dietitian (RD), who will review your medical information, help you create a special diet, and show you how to use therapeutic nutrition products to meet your or your loved one’s specific needs. You can find an RD in your area by visiting the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics online at www.eatright.org and clicking on “Find a Nutrition Professional” or look in your phone book under “Registered Dietitians.”
Some insurance companies may cover the counseling an RD provides when recommended by your doctor. Contact your doctor’s office to see if an RD is on staff.
Many of these products are available to purchase online for home delivery. You also can find many therapeutic nutrition products at your local food or drugstore or ask your pharmacy to order them for you. Speak to your doctor or registered dietitian to learn which products are best for you.
To learn more about therapeutic nutrition products for specific health problems and for a store locator, visit www.AbbottNutrition.com or call 1-800-227-5767 Monday through Friday, 8:30 AM to 5:00 PM EST.
Here are trustworthy sources of general information about lung disease and COPD:
- National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute: http://www.nhlbi.nih.gov/health/health-topics/topics/copd/
- American Lung Association: http://www.lung.org/lung-disease/copd/