Monthly Letters to Pulmonary Patients by Thomas L. Petty

Thomas L. Petty, M.D.

Professor of Medicine, 
University of Colorado

Chairman, National Lung Health Education Program (NLHEP)


National Lung Health Education Program
A collaborative project with



HealthOne Center
1850 High Street
Denver, CO 80218
Phone: 303 839 6755
Fax: 303 832 8137

Walk Away From Hospitals
and Eat Your Way Back to Health

April 2003

Second Wind
Lomita, California

Dear Friends;

     It is well known that unintended weight loss spells potential disaster for patients with advanced stages of COPD. There is something about increased energy expenditure with resultant loss of body tissues that predicts a poor outcome. In a recent study it was shown that increased "usual physical activity" reduced the risk of hospitalization significantly. Whether this was simply due to the fact that healthier people exercise more cannot be known for certain. However, it is well established that exercise is a cornerstone of pulmonary rehabilitation.

Exercise stimulates appetite and sleep. It also reduces the craving for nicotine which is particularly valuable in those still addicted to tobacco. In addition, exercise stimulates the immune system to help ward off infections, including respiratory infections. Thus, considering the central value of exercise, I would recommend walking away from hospitals rather being taken to them.

Also be advised that you can eat yourself "back to health" by a diet high in calories and antioxidant vitamins and minerals. Remember that chocolate is good for you. So walk and eat yourself back to health and you will live longer and better for it. 

I'll be in touch next month.

Your friend,

  Thomas Petty, MD

Last update:
28 Apr 2003