Obesity and Asthma

Studies have concluded that weight loss has a significant improvement among asthmatic obese individuals. Asthmatics that are overweight, obese, or morbidly obese, and reduced their body weight through diet, medications and surgical procedure have reported to have a relief from symptoms.

Salbutamal metered dose inhaler.

Salbutamal metered dose inhaler. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Over the past 20 years, 75% of emergency room visits due to asthma were paid by obese individuals. Although at the moment, scientists have yet to come up with a scientific explanation on how obesity directly affects asthma, evidence on laboratory tests and x-ray binds the relationship between these two. In some studies, risks for contracting asthma are greater in individuals who are overweight or obese. In fact, obesity is a pre-cursor to asthma.

Asthma is a medical condition characterized by a swelling or inflammation of the interior walls of the airways that carry the air to and from the lungs. The inflammation compels the air passage to become extremely sensitive to irritation and or irritants. In addition, it increases the vulnerability of an asthmatic individual to allergic reactions.

Since the swelling makes the air passages to constrict, lesser air can pass through them in entering and exiting the lungs. People who are asthmatic experience symptoms ranging from tightening of the chest to wheezing, coughing and breathing problems. These symptoms are caused by tightening of the muscles around the airways, constriction, inflammation, swelling, soreness, and irritation of the airways in the lungs.

In the United States, 6 million children and 22 million adults suffer from asthma. Everyday around 40,000 people miss work or school, and 1,000 asthmatic individuals are admitted to a hospital, while 5,000 people visit the emergency room due to this condition. During an asthma attack-which occurs in 30,000 people everyday in the United States-the muscles surrounding the airways constrict, making them narrow. The air that passes through the narrow airways is naturally less. Inflammation of the airways will start, thereby, causing the airways to narrow further. To top it all, the airways will produce more mucus, aggravating the air flow to a greater degree.

In obese individuals, their ability to perform pulmonary function is reduced. This is called hyperresponsiveness, in which, an increase in the chest and abdominal wall mass in obese individuals causes a lower functional residual capacity. It is also possible that, as lung volume is a primary determinant of air passage diameter, the alterations in residual capacity enables the smooth muscles of the airway to compress excessively.

It could also be that overweight and obese people breathe at greater frequency, yet, at smaller tidal volumes, in comparison to people of normal weight. Consequently, the bronchodilatory effect of such tidal strains is put to a compromise. Thus, obesity makes an individual predisposed to high airway responsiveness.

On the other hand, the systemic inflammation in obese people is characterized by leukocytes, cytokine receptors, cytokines, and chemokines. Such inflammation is found to have originated within the adipose tissue, and illnesses that are common among obese individuals also correspond to the systemic inflammation.

The adipose tissue consists of the adiponectin, leptin, and plasminogen activator inhibitor 1, which all contribute to hyperresponsiveness of the airways.

Studies have concluded that weight loss has a significant improvement among asthmatic obese individuals. Asthmatics that are overweight, obese, or morbidly obese, and reduced their body weight through diet, medications and surgical procedure have reported to have a relief from symptoms. They also noticed having less necessity for medications, hospitalizations. Generally, they experienced better function of their lungs.

Obesity is a global epidemic. It is more than an issue of physical appearance. It has become a pre-cursor to more serious conditions, besides the asthma.

#obesity #asthmatriggers


Share with your friends
Facebooktwittergoogle_plusredditpinterestlinkedinmail
To report this post you need to login first.

2 Comments

  1. dianethare

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *