Obesity makes asthma worse, and may be a risk factor in fatal attacks. But you can turn your health around if you lose weight. Here’s how.
Nearly 15 percent of American women who are obese also have asthma, compared to around 8 percent of women who are normal weight. Being obese also ups a man’s chance of having asthma, and the heavier you are, the more reactive your airway is likely to be.
Treating asthma is more difficult in obese patients. They are more likely to go to the emergency room and, when there, need more intensive treatment because they don’t respond as well to standard steroids.
Why might that be? One reason is that obesity fundamentally alters the way your lungs work. Because of the extra weight on the chest wall and diaphragm, you normally breathe more shallowly. One theory is that this makes the airway more likely to become hyper responsive.
Extra weight is also linked to chronic low-grade inflammation adding to the inflammation in an allergic response that triggers the airway to tighten up.
October 26, 2017
Janet O’Dell, RN