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
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