While studies can’t fully explain the link between obesity and asthma, there is evidence that losing extra weight could help relieve asthma symptoms.
In Europe, nearly 10 million people under the age of 45 are living with asthma. There are many factors that might make your risk of developing asthma higher: genetics, allergies, or pollutants.
A growing body of research also underlines the connection between the onset of asthma in adulthood and lifestyle choices. Smoking or working in a career with chemical irritants are two factors that can increase the chance of developing asthma. Obesity is likewise considered as a risk factor, especially for women.
While it has been unclear which comes first – if obesity leads to asthma or if asthma leads to weight gain – recent studies have shown that both are possible.
In any case, losing extra weight could help you control your asthma better. In fact, being overweight can make your symptoms worse, impacting how well your asthma medications work and requiring greater use of them.
That's why reducing your weight through dietary adjustments and regular exercise can prove an essential part of living with asthma. A study conducted at Bispebjerg Hospital in Copenhagen found that asthma patients who took part in an eight-week diet and exercise programme rated their symptom score 50 per cent better at the end of the trial period.
According to Asthma UK, scientists don't yet fully understand the connection between asthma and obesity. Yet experts there say losing weight, eating healthily and exercising regularly is a great way to control your symptoms; exercise in particular will improve how well your lungs work.
While long-term impact of weight loss on asthma is still under research, in the short-term, losing weight could alleviate feelings of breathlessness as extra weight on the chest and lungs is reduced. It could potentially lessen the amount you turn to your asthma medications as the symptoms are more readily managed.
By Courtney Tenz
Photo by iStock
Ulrik CS. Asthma and obesity: is weight reduction the key to achieve asthma control? Curr Opin Pulm Med. 2016 Jan;22(1):69-73. doi: 10.1097/MCP.0000000000000226. Review. PubMed PMID: 26574719.
Shore, SA. Obesity and asthma: location, location, location. European Respiratory Journal Feb 2013, 41 (2) 253-254; DOI: 10.1183/09031936.001288
Orion is a globally operating Finnish pharmaceutical company - a builder of well-being for more than 100 years. Orion develops, manufactures and markets human and veterinary pharmaceuticals and active pharmaceutical ingredients. Respiratory diseases are one of Orion’s core therapy areas. Easyhaler® is a dry-powder inhaler developed in-house. The Easyhaler® product family includes today six commonly used treatment options for asthma and COPD patients. Orion's net sales in 2018 amounted to EUR 977 million and the company had about 3,200 employees. Orion's A and B shares are listed on Nasdaq Helsinki.
As a forward-looking pharmaceutical company, Orion continues to invest in research and development of treatment options for people with asthma and COPD while also developing the design and usability of the inhaler. The focus is on safety and quality in each step of the product life cycle while taking care of the environment. Sustainability is entwined in the whole process from R&D through manufacturing. It is also required of Orion’s providers. Orion is committed to keeping the best possible control of the environmental impacts of their own factories by reducing energy consumption and the impact of their wastewaters, among others, and is making good progress in that regard. Orion works to ensure that suppliers have procedures in place to control and reduce their own environmental impacts as well. All aspects of sustainability - social, economic and environmental - are carefully considered in the whole product life cycle, including patient use and the disposal of old inhalers.