Research Project: Can Healthy Diet Reduce Risk of COPD Rehospitalization?
Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, or COPD, is a progressive, incurable lung disease that affects over 16 million adults in the United States. Individuals with COPD have breathing difficulties and often suffer from “flares” of their COPD that require them to be admitted to the hospital for treatment. As many as one in five of these patients will return to the hospital within the following month needing more treatment. This study seeks to understand what puts someone at high risk of needing to return to the hospital, with a specific focus on diet. Scientists are learning more about how certain foods may help protect lungs from inflammation, and patients may have trouble obtaining and preparing healthy foods after returning home from a stay in the hospital. The results of this study may help design programs involving healthy diets to help patients recover from COPD flares and prevent the need to return to the hospital.
Our project has been successfully embedded in the ongoing cohort study HEAR COPD, which seeks to understand home environmental factors that increase risk for rehospitalization following an exacerbation of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD). Our project adds a systematic study of diet quality, food insecurity and healthy food access for individuals enrolled in HEAR COPD. To date, most study participants have completed questionnaires regarding food insecurity and other social determinants of health. We will soon obtain diet quality data on all subsequent participants enrolled into HEAR COPD with the goal of having diet quality data on at least 60 participants in this cohort. Preliminary data on the association of these findings with readmission risk should be available in the coming year.