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Although airflow obstruction is the most obvious and most studied manifestation of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), it should not be overlooked that COPD, particularly in its later stages, is associated with many extrapulmonary features that contribute to the morbidity, reduced quality of life, and, possibly, mortality of this disease. We review here the literature on skeletal muscle dysfunction, osteoporosis, and weight loss in COPD, with particular attention to possible approaches to their management. Patients with COPD may also have other extrapulmonary effects such as hormonal abnormalities that could probably be corrected, but less is known about them. COPD, therefore, should be regarded as a systemic disorder. Its systemic manifestations should not be overlooked in the overall care of the patient, because there are important ways in which they can be addressed.

(C) 2001 Lippincott Williams & Wilkins, Inc.