Chronic Lung Disease: Maintaining a Healthy Weight

Closeup of woman's feet on bathroom scale.Chronic lung disease can affect your weight in two ways:

  • Shortness of breath and fatigue can limit your ability to take in enough nutrition, so you can lose weight.

  • Shortness of breath and fatigue can limit your ability to perform physical activity, so you may not burn as many calories as you take in, so you can gain weight.

Being underweight can limit your energy. This makes it harder to be active and makes you more prone to infection. And being overweight can increase shortness of breath. So you should try to stay at a healthy weight. Weighing yourself regularly helps you do this. If you gain or lose weight without trying to, you may need to make changes in your diet or your treatment plan.

Tips for weighing yourself

Here are suggestions to follow: 

  • Weigh yourself at the same time each morning, after using the bathroom and before eating.

  • It’s most accurate to weigh yourself without clothes. If this isn’t possible, wear the same clothes (such as pajamas) each time you weigh yourself.

  • Write your weight on a piece of paper that’s kept near the scale. This will help you see any changes in your weight over time.

  • Call your healthcare provider if you are steadily losing weight over time (without trying to), or if you gain 3 to 5 pounds in 1 week.

Weighing myself

Work with your healthcare provider or a dietitian to establish your goal weight. Then weigh yourself as often as instructed by your healthcare provider or pulmonary rehabilitation team. This may be once a day, once a week, or another time frame.

My goal weight: _____________

How often to weigh:     Daily     Weekly     Other: _________________