The chronic lung disease, asthma, affects one out of every 12 people in the United States with varying levels of severity. For some, treating asthma can be as simple as using an inhaler when they begin to wheeze; for others, it can be serious enough to completely restrict breathing and result in a trip to the hospital.
The role of being overweight and obese has been frequently studied in regards to the severity of one’s asthma with a universal conclusion: There is a link between how extensive your asthma can be and how much you weigh. However, something that has rarely been studied is how weight loss affects someone’s asthma. Until now.
A Canadian study published in the June issue of the journal CHEST found weight loss reduced asthma severity as measured by airway hyperresponsiveness (AHR) in obese adults. In what is considered one of the more accurate studies on the subject, it was discovered that the incidence of asthma is 1.47 times higher in obese people than non-obese people, and a three-unit increase in body mass index is associated with a 35 percent increase in the risk of asthma. The study supports the active treatment of comorbid obesity in individuals with asthma.
“This study is unique because of its strict adherence to an accurate diagnostic criteria and study outcome (AHR), resulting in purer results to support weight loss as a strategy to normalize or reverse asthma in this group of people hit hard by the condition,” says Smita Pakhale, MD.
The comorbidities associated with obesity are numerous. Yet, asthma and other chronic conditions spurred by obesity are consistently treated with prescriptions and costly office visits. However, it seems like getting to the root cause of these conditions is the best medicine after all. Obesity treatment works.