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Chronic Lung Disease: Maintaining a Healthy Weight

Chronic lung disease can affect your weight in 2 ways. Shortness of breath and lack of energy (fatigue) can make it hard to:

  • Take in enough nutrition. So you may lose weight.

  • Do any physical activity. You may not burn as many calories as you take in. So you may gain weight.

Being underweight can limit your energy. This makes it harder to be active. And it makes you more likely to get an infection. Being overweight can also 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. Do this 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. Keep this 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 pounds in 1 week.


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

My goal weight: _____________

How often to weigh:      Daily      Weekly      Other: _________________

Online Medical Reviewer: Alan J Blaivas DO
Online Medical Reviewer: Daphne Pierce-Smith RN MSN CCRC
Online Medical Reviewer: John Hanrahan MD
Date Last Reviewed: 8/1/2018
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