COPD Exacerbations Related To Vitamin D

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A condition known as Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), also called as chronic obstructive lung disease (COLD), chronic obstructive airway disease (COAD), chronic airflow limitation (CAL) and chronic obstructive respiratory disease (CORD), is a debilitating disease that causes the airway to narrow leading to difficulty of breathing (dsypnea). When this condition suddenly worsens, it is already termed as acute exacerbation of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease or AECOPD. This is commonly characterized by shortness of breath, increase in quantity of phlegm and lasts for several days. It can be triggered by allergy-causing substances or an infection.

A study regarding the connection between vitamin D and pulmonary disease, specifically AECOPD, shows that vitamin D levels are not significant in AECOPD. The study was conducted in 973 North American patients suffering from severe COPD. However, a second analysis was done. Data of the second study was based from a randomized controlled trial of the effects of azithromycin (an anti-bacterial drug) on the frequent attacks of COPD. Same results were found out that the level of vitamin D doesn’t necessarily affects the exacerbation rates of AECOPD.

“Vitamin D insufficiency and deficiency are common in patients with COPD, and patients with severe COPD are at the highest risk for exacerbations, so we hypothesized that low vitamin D levels might increase the risk of AECOPDs,” according to Ken M. Kunisaki, M.D., of the Minneapolis Veterans Affairs Medical Center, was quoted as saying. “Our negative results are in contrast with earlier studies in which lower vitamin D levels were associated with higher rates of respiratory infections in adults and more frequent asthma exacerbations in children.”

Respiratory symptoms, like sputum-production, coughing, wheezing, shortness or difficulty of breathing, chest pain is a manifestation of having severe vitamin D deficiency. Even only one symptom exists, in duration of three days or more, should be given an antibiotic treatment or a corticosteriod therapy.

Indeed, patients with severe vitamin D deficiency has higher mean rate of AECOPD compared with patients with normal vitamin D levels. But this results doesn’t give a statistically significant meaning since patients with severe vitamin D deficiency  did not even shows shorter time of AECOPD attacks than other patients. Thus, it gives the conclusion to the first analysis that the vitamin D levels had no significant relationship with the time of the first AECOPD.

However, the vitamin D levels were on obtained in a baseline basis. There were changes that occur during the period of the said study. This explicitly shows on of the limitations of the said study.

“Contrary to what we expected, baseline vitamin D levels were not related to the risk of subsequent AECOPDs in this large group of COPD patients at high risk of AECOPD,” Kunisaki was quoted as saying. “Vitamin D supplementation is unlikely to have an effect on AECOPD risk in these patients.”

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  1. [...] COPD Exacerbations Related To Vitamin DHeal Blog (blog)A study regarding the connection between vitamin D and pulmonary disease, specifically AECOPD, shows that vitamin D levels are not significant in AECOPD. The study was conducted in 973 North American patients suffering from severe COPD. …and more » [...]

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