Lack of vitamin D linked to COPD


A new study conducted in Spain has once again highlighted the incidence of vitamin D in people. Specifically, the pulmonologist Ramón Agüero Balbín, of Marqués de Valdecilla University Hospital (Santander) ensures that up to 77% of people with COPD (Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease) high risk may have lack of vitamin D.

Dr. Agüero Balbín explains that «in people with COPD, the differences that exist between a patient with hormone D deficiency and another with adequate levels imply a greater tendency to suffer exacerbations and, therefore, a worse prognosis in general, by conditioning in this way a more pronounced progression of the process.

In addition, according to the specialist, there is also an increased risk of pathological fractures due to the alteration of bone metabolism to the frequent immobility of patients in advanced stages.

What is COPD?

COPD is a disease characterized by irreversible airflow limitation. That is, a limitation of the capacity of the air that reaches the lungs.

Person with respiratory problems
Person with respiratory problems

Patients with COPD can suffer episodes of sudden worsening and exacerbation of the disease, causing important consequences on the health of their body. This worsening of the disease is known as exacerbations, which are mainly due to bacterial, viral or infectious processes.

If this is not treated, the risk of hospitalization is significantly higher, as is the probability of mortality. Thus, some patients are more likely to develop this type of frequent exacerbations and have a worse state of health compared to others who do not suffer from this type of patient.

In this sense, historically there has been talk about the hypothesis of a possible link between vitamin D levels and COPD. In this regard, Dr. Agüero points out that “at present, there are already several recent studies in the medical literature that have verified the role of hormone D in the prevention of exacerbations in patients with COPD, as well as in the adequate maintenance of the bone metabolism and the physical performance of patients ».

Relationship of vitamin D levels and COPD

On the relationship of vitamin D levels and COPD, a study published in the journal ‘The Lancet’ determined that treatment with hormone D helped prevent moderate and severe exacerbations in patients with this pathology and lack of vitamin D.

Furthermore, in a meta-analysis, supplementation with 25 (OH) vitamin D reduced exacerbation rates in patients with low vitamin D levels.

Therefore, Dr. Agüero Balbín emphasizes that in patients with a lack of vitamin D, exacerbations can cause a greater risk of hospitalizations and associated mortality; as well as a greater consumption of health resources, deterioration of the quality of life and a negative impact on the progression of the disease.

«Thanks to calcifediol supplementation, the deficient levels of 25 (OH) vitamin D would be corrected, thereby improving the prognosis of these patients, since the number of exacerbations could be reduced thanks to the immunomodulatory role of hormone D. It would also contribute to avoid and would help treat the frequent association of osteoporosis that occurs in these patients and improve their quality of life “, argues the specialist

To conclude, this COPD expert concludes that “without a doubt, it would be highly recommended to perform an analysis of 25-OH vitamin D levels in all people after a diagnosis of COPD, since the correction of the supposed and frequent deficiencies in this group of patients would bring great benefits ”.

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