Losing Weight Key in Improving Asthma in Obese Patients

For obese asthmatics, an article in CHEST reported that weight loss could mitigate their symptoms, which investigators believed highlighted a need for doctors to simultaneously treat obesity and asthma.

For obese asthmatics, an article in CHEST reported that weight loss could mitigate their symptoms, which investigators believed highlighted a need for doctors to simultaneously treat obesity and asthma.

According to a CHEST press release, the link between weight and asthma is well established — the risk of asthma was found to be 1.47 times higher in obese individuals.

Additionally, there was a 35% heightened asthma risk per three-unit increase in body mass index.

For their study, 22 obese (BMI ≥ 32.5 kg/m2) asthmatic adults aged18 to 75 years who experienced airway hyper responsiveness (AHR) either underwent a behavioral weight reduction program for 3 months (n=16), or acted as a control (n=6). The team also quantified lung function, asthma control, and quality of life as secondary factors.

After three months, the participants, mainly women whose average age was 44 ± 9 years and had a mean BMI of 45.7 ± 9.2 kg/m2, were reported to have a mean weight loss of 16.5 ± 9.9 kg in the intervention group, while the control group had an average weight gain of 0.6 ± 2.6 kg.

Furthermore, the intervention cohort’s PC20 (P = .009), FEV1 (P = .009), FVC (P = .010), asthma control (P < .001), and asthma quality of life (P = .003) improved while the control group saw no change. The team also noted that, “physical activity levels also increased significantly in the intervention group but not in the control group.”

Based on their findings, the authors concluded their study, which they claimed was one of the first to explore how physiologic tests could be combined with diagnostic criteria for asthma, by urging for more weight-loss measures being initiated among obese individuals.

“While previous studies have examined the relationship between asthma severity and obesity, 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 very hard by the condition,” said Smita Pakhale, MD, Department of Medicine, The Ottawa Hospital and University of Ottawa. “We were pleased to see significant improvement in asthma symptoms, as well as quality of life for these individuals. This study further supports the need to manage comorbidities to improve patient lives.”