What Links Asthma to Obesity?

January 13, 2021
Kevin Kunzmann

A conversation on how associations between the chronic conditions have become better understood in 10 years.

The definition of asthma as a multifactorial chronic disease is one that has been refining over the last decades.

Though generally easy to diagnose and increasingly managed by a wave of new agents, clinicians are still subject to an ongoing evolution of subtypes, phenotypes, presentations, and biomarkers linked to asthma.

In the January episode of Lungcast, hosted by HCPLive and the American Lung Association (ALA), ALA chief medical officer Al Rizzo, MD, spoke with Anne Dixon, MD, a pulmonologist at the University of Vermont Medical Center and Medical Director of the Pulmonary Disease and Critical Care Departments at The Robert Larner, MD College of Medicine.

Dixon, a prolific investigator into the associations of obesity and metabolism in lung disease, discussed with Rizzo the understood association between the 2 common, chronic diseases—a dynamic which has become more acutely defined in the last 10 years of research.

“Early on, we used to think obesity caused a little bit of restriction—made your lungs smaller, makes it a little more difficult to exercise and easier to get short of breath,” Dixon explained. “But we’ve come to understanding obesity itself is a complex disease that affects the immune system, how we respond to viruses and air pollutants, and that it actually fundamentally resets pulmonary physiology.”

In the clip above, Rizzo and Dixon discuss research into asthma-obesity associations, as well as asthma phenotype understanding.

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