Effects of aging and comorbidities on nutritional status and muscle dysfunction in patients with COPD
Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) is a prevalent, complex and debilitating disease which imposes a formidable burden on patients and the healthcare system. The recognition that COPD is a multifaceted disease is not new, and increasing evidence have outlined the importance of its extra-pulmonary manifestations and its relation to other comorbid conditions in the clinical course of the disease and its societal cost. The relationship between aging, COPD and its comorbidities on skeletal muscle function and nutritional status is complex, multidirectional and incompletely understood. Despite this, the current body of knowledge allows the identification of various, seemingly partially independent factors related both to the normal aging process and to the independent deleterious effects of chronic diseases on muscle function and body composition. There is a dire need of studies evaluating the relative contribution of each of these factors, and their potential synergistic effects in patients with COPD and advanced age/comorbid conditions, in order to delineate the best course of therapeutic action in this increasingly prevalent population.