Vitamin D deficiency common in COPD patients

Vitamin D deficiency common in COPD patients

Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, or COPD, is a disease that involves obstruction of the airflow, usually stemming from a history of smoking. It affects about 12.7 million Americans and is the third most common cause of death in the country at 130,000 fatalities per year. Even with statistics like these, many experts believe the condition may be under-diagnosed. 

South Korean researchers recently found that COPD patients had higher than average rates of vitamin D deficiency. By measuring the level of the vitamin in the blood, they determined that nearly 80 percent of the 193 COPD patients they examined were vitamin D deficient. Another 14.5 percent had blood levels of vitamin D that are considered insufficient, but not deficient. Only 12 of the 193 patients had normal levels of the vitamin in their blood. 

The researchers also found that the patients with normal vitamin D levels showed less difficulty with breathing and walking than those who were deficient in the vitamin. 

"We demonstrated a high prevalence of vitamin D deficiency in Korean patients with COPD and a significant relationship between vitamin D deficiency and airflow limitation. The exercise capacity tended to be decreased in the vitamin D deficiency group," the researchers wrote. They recommend further research into vitamin D supplementation for patients with COPD.

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