How Asthma Affects The Body – Asthma is a chronic inflammatory condition with many factors affecting our airways. It is characterized by shortness of breath, wheezing, coughing and mucus production. Symptoms are caused by specific triggers such as environmental factors that cause the airways to narrow, making breathing difficult.
There is a strong link between asthma and obesity, with excess weight negatively affecting the respiratory health of people with asthma and those who may have asthma. Several studies support this association.
How Asthma Affects The Body
The National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey III (1988-1994) showed that one in three individuals with asthma (32%) is obese1. A meta-analysis of seven studies also found that the chance of asthma increased by 50% in individuals who were overweight or obese. As you can see, the relationship between body mass index and asthma is close, where the risk of asthma increases with increasing body weight2.
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In a recent study involving 32,000 adults, being overweight or obese more than quadrupled the rate of asthma. The degree of obesity was related to the severity of asthma and its persistence (difficulty to manage) 3. In some publications, asthma is recognized as one of the conditions associated with obesity. Although we do not fully understand the exact process linking obesity and asthma, there are a number of possible theories that have been proposed.
Obesity has a negative effect on lung volumes. Tidal volume is the amount of air that enters the lung at the end of inspiration (inspiration) and leaves the lung during expiration (expiration). Functional residual capacity is the amount of air that remains in the lungs at the end of expiration, maintaining lung volumes by keeping the small airways open. Excess weight in the chest wall (making it difficult to expand externally) and abdominal area (pushing up the diaphragm or the muscle under the lungs), reduces the general compliance of the lungs and makes it difficult to expand, thus reducing the tidal volume and functional residual. capacity
Obesity is considered a low-grade inflammatory state. This is caused by excess adipose tissue (fat cells) releasing proteins such as interleukin-6 (IL-6) and tumor necrosis factor-alpha (TNF-α) that increase inflammation. Leptin is a hormone secreted by fat cells. This hormone has an influence on energy levels by increasing metabolism and food intake by decreasing hunger. Leptin also stimulates a specific type of immune cell, T cells, to multiply and increase the production of pro-inflammatory proteins. It has been suggested that this increased inflammation may affect the airways of people with obesity. Some studies have shown an increase in neutrophils, a type of white blood cell, in the airways of individuals with obesity and asthma.
Diet is a common link between obesity and asthma. Obesity is recognized as a state of excessive energy consumption due to poor diet quality. The quality of the diet affects the immune system causing inflammation of the airways, exacerbation of asthma and its management. Fat is a major dietary component. The amount and type of fat in the diet affects inflammation of the airways.
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A randomized clinical trial showed activation of the immune system and increased mucus four hours after consuming a high-fat, high-calorie meal. The increase in mucus was significantly higher in diets rich in trans fats than in those without. The quality of fat in the diet has a different effect on airway inflammation. The study also showed a reduced response to asthma treatment (bronchodilators) after consuming fatty meals, highlighting the role of diet quality in asthma management.
Fruits and vegetables are high in fiber and low in energy density. Consuming these foods helps reduce calorie intake and increase weight loss. In fact, studies have shown that 5-10% weight loss leads to improved asthma control and quality of life in asthma patients. Fruits and vegetables are also rich in carotenoids. Carotenoids are highly pigmented fat-soluble compounds that occur naturally in fruits and vegetables and also have antioxidant (anti-inflammatory) properties.
One clinical trial randomized participants with asthma to either a high-antioxidant diet (five servings of vegetables and two servings of fruit per day) or a low-antioxidant diet (two or fewer servings of vegetables and one serving of fruit). per day). Participants randomized to diets low in antioxidants were twice as likely to experience asthma exacerbations and worsening lung function. This study showed that carotenoid supplements did not have the same effect on respiratory inflammation as consuming carotenoids through whole fruits and vegetables. This underlines the importance of not substituting supplements for fruit and vegetables5.
Physical activity is important in weight management and weight maintenance. Other benefits of physical activity include improving:
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Most people with asthma experience a worsening of symptoms after exercise (exercise-induced bronchoconstriction), which causes them to avoid physical activity. This can include weight gain, inflammation and decreased fitness. Exercise is important for people with asthma. Exercise is defined as exercising 7 days a week, more than twice a week. Five or more exercise sessions per week have been shown to improve quality of life by 17%, lung volume (FEV1) by 3%, and reduce airway sensitivity by 53%6.
In a study of 46 Australian women suffering from obesity and asthma, an hour-a-week exercise routine consisted of:
This formation resulted in a 50% reduction in sputum eosinophils (a type of white blood cell)7. This highlights the role of increased physical activity in reducing airway inflammation. While weight loss can be achieved through dietary restriction, it is important to add physical activity. The benefits of dietary restriction and physical activity are:
Although there is still more research to be done, there appears to be a link between obesity and asthma. If you have asthma, it’s important to consider any factors that may be at play (such as being overweight, consuming a lower-quality diet, or not exercising adequately). It is also recommended that you talk to your doctor about ways to improve your asthma and/or any possible conditions associated with it. Reducing your risk of asthma and improving its symptoms will likely help you achieve a better quality of life and feel your best!
What Happens In Your Airways When You Have Asthma?
Sunil Daniel, MD, FTOS, is an obesity physician with a fellowship in clinical nutrition and obesity management. He is a member of The Obesity Society and is the author of many scientific articles on obesity and its medical management. He also serves on the education committee of the OAC.
Looking for answers about your weight and health? You won’t want to miss YWM2023-Virtual! Join OAC for a first-of-its-kind convention designed to help you find simplified answers to complex questions at your fingertips. Register for free at YWMVirtual.com. New York by Ed Hosseinipour, Specialty Pharmacist Asthma is a chronic lung disease that inflames and narrows the airways. Asthma causes recurrent attacks of wheezing (whistling when you breathe), chest tightness, shortness of breath and coughing. A cough often occurs at night or early in the morning. Asthma affects people of all ages, but most often begins in childhood. To understand asthma, it helps to know how the airways work.
The airways are tubes that carry air in and out of the lungs. People who have asthma have inflamed airways. The inflammation makes the airways swollen and very sensitive. The airways tend to react strongly to certain inhaled substances. When the airways react, the muscles around them tighten. This narrows the airways, causing less airflow into the lungs. The swelling can also get worse, making the airways even narrower. Cells in the airways may produce more mucus than usual. Mucus is a sticky, thick liquid that can further narrow the airways. This chain reaction can cause asthma symptoms. Symptoms can occur whenever the airways are inflamed.
Cause, the exact cause of asthma is not known. Researchers believe that certain genetic and environmental factors interact to cause asthma, most often early in life. These factors include: An inherited tendency to develop allergies Parents suffering from asthma Certain respiratory infections in childhood Contact with certain airborne allergens or exposure to certain viral infections in infancy or early childhood when systemic immunity is developing.
What Is Inflammation, And How Does It Affect Us?
Asthma symptom triggers Many things can trigger or worsen asthma symptoms. Triggers can include: dust allergens, animal dander, cockroaches, molds and pollen from trees, grasses and flowers, irritants such as cigarette smoke, air pollution, workplace chemicals or dust, compounds in household products, home decor and aerosol sprays (such as hair . spray), medications such as aspirin or other non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs and non-selective beta-blockers, sulphites in food and drinks, viral upper respiratory infections such as colds, physical activity, including exercise.
Prevention You cannot prevent asthma. However, you can take steps to control the disease and prevent its symptoms. For example: Learn about your asthma and ways to control it. Follow your written asthma management plan. (For a sample plan, go to the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute’s “Asthma Action Plan”). Use your medications as prescribed by your doctor. Identify and try to avoid things that make your asthma worse (asthma triggers). However, one trigger that you should not avoid is physical
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