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Obesity worsens impact of asthma
Date:4/30/2008

MI, an asthma-like episode has the potential to cause greater breathing difficulties than in non-obese women, said Dr. Taylor. The greater dynamic hyperinflation means that obese individuals lose the ability to inhale as deeply or exhale as fully as normal weight individuals.

Curiously, the group of obese individuals with asthma differed from their non-asthmatic counterparts in having a lower FRC before the methacholine challenge than the non-obese group, yet still recorded a greater increase in FRC after the methacholine challenge. This is the surprising finding in our study. It is quite counterintuitive. You would expect individuals with a heavier chest wall not to develop hyperinflation quite so readily as those who are lighter. But that is not what happened, said Dr. Taylor.

Perhaps most importantly, these findings point to fundamental differences in the way that obese individuals might experience shortness of breath if they have asthma. We know that asthma in obese subjects is more likely to persist and is more likely to be perceived to be severe. These individuals often require more treatment to achieve asthma control. Our study provides an insight into why this might be happeningthe same asthma trigger produces a greater effect in obese individuals.

The study also showed that simple spirometry was inadequate to determine the level of pulmonary dysfunction which was occurring in obese individuals.

Our findings need to be explored further. We need to confirm that the differences in dynamic hyperinflation between obese and non-obese asthmatics are sufficient to explain the differences in symptoms between the two groups. Our study was not large enough to do this, said Dr. Taylor.


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Contact: Keely Savoie
ksavoie@thoracic.org
212-315-8620
American Thoracic Society
Source:Eurekalert

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