How Losing Weight Can Help You Manage Asthma
Even though researchers do still have some questions about the mechanisms behind how asthma and obesity are related, its important to know that in terms of preventing and managing either condition, maintaining a healthy weight can help.
A study published in October 2018 in the Journal of Asthma found that obese patients with asthma who lost weight experienced improved breathing function and quality of life particularly when they shed more than 5 percent of their weight.
Weight loss would certainly be a recommended part of any asthma treatment plan for someone who is obese, particularly for patients with poorly controlled asthma requiring frequent hospitalizations, notes Dr. Miller. While its critical to consider other factors, such as smoking and allergies, which also need to be managed, obesity shouldnt be overlooked in asthma management.
Its definitely an important component of their disease that needs to be considered, stresses Miller.
Additional reporting by Lisa Rapaport
Is Asthma Changing Your Appetite Or Weight
Poorly controlled asthma can affect your weight.
When it comes to asthma and appetite, doctors and dietitians worry most about patients who eat too much, shun exercise for fear of becoming breathless, and end up being overweight.
But in a small minority of patients, poorly controlled asthma can leave them too breathless and fatigued to eat properly. Furthermore, a few asthma medications can cause upset stomachs or thrush infections in the mouth, leading to poor appetite.
Eat Well To Breathe Well
Fresh fruit and vegetables are full of antioxidants, which may improve your lung health and help avoid asthma attacks. Aim for a well-balance diet with 5 servings of vegetables and 2 servings of fruit every day. Eating lots of fish may help with your asthma too.
Eating too much saturated fat may increase your risk of asthma attacks. Limit the amount of saturated fats you eat by limiting fast foods and choosing lean meats.
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Weight Is Not The Only Contribution To Asthma
Skinny, lean people, overweight people, athletes, and obese people all have asthma. Being overweight or obese does not cause asthma, nor is it the only reason for asthma symptoms. Even if you are obese or overweight, learning what your triggers are, creating an asthma action plan, and figuring out what asthma medications to use remains important.
The Facts About Asthma And Weight
Theres been a growing awareness in recent years that many asthmatics are overweight. This has been a cause for concern, since studies show that people who carry extra weight could increase their chances of having chronic medical conditions such as heart disease and type 2 diabetes. But for some asthmatics, its very complicated to maintain a healthy weight because in many cases, their breathing issues do not allow them to engage in activities that could help them manage their weight.
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Experiment With Intermittent Fasting
Some asthma medications can suppress appetite and upset the stomach, making it harder to eat healthfully. Others increase hunger, leading to weight gain, according to WebMD. A good example is the corticosteroid prednisone, which stimulates appetite and affects your metabolism. One way to address these challenges is to try out intermittent fasting.
With this approach, you’ll refrain from eating for eight or more hours each day or fast for one or two days per week. If, say, you eat dinner at 8 p.m. and breakfast at 12 p.m. the next day, that’s a 16-hour fast. Shortening your eating window can increase fat burning and boost overall health. “Many things happen during intermittent fasting that can protect organs against chronic diseases like type 2 diabetes, heart disease, age-related neurodegenerative disorders, even inflammatory bowel disease, and many cancers,” says Mark Mattson, a neuroscientist at Johns Hopkins Medicine.
In clinical trials, intermittent fasting has been shown to improve glycemic control and reduce body weight by up to 13%, reports the journal Canadian Family Physician. Other studies found that it may reduce blood pressure and cholesterol levels, suppress inflammation, and regulate appetite, notes a recent review featured in the journal Nutrients. What’s more, this dietary pattern may alleviate asthma symptoms due to its anti-inflammatory effects, according to a 2018 study presented in The Journal of Immunology.
How To Exercise If You Suffer From Asthma
Nirav Mehta has lived with bronchial asthma since he was a toddler. He nonetheless remembers sleepless nights when he must sit up and bend ahead to have the ability to breathe, typically falling asleep when seated. Whereas in class, most sports activities handed him by as a result of working would set off an bronchial asthma assault.
Bronchial asthma is a non-communicable illness that affected an estimated 262 million individuals in 2019 and is the most typical power illness amongst youngsters, in keeping with the World Well being Group. The air passages within the lungs develop into slim as a result of irritation and tightening of the muscle tissues across the small airways for individuals who undergo from bronchial asthma. This causes bronchial asthma signs: cough, wheeze, shortness of breath and chest tightness. These signs are intermittent and are sometimes worse at night time or throughout train, the WHO notes. Whereas bronchial asthma cant be cured, good administration with inhaled medicines can management the illness and allow individuals with bronchial asthma to get pleasure from a traditional, lively life, it provides.
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Shrenik Avlani is a author and editor and the co-author of The Shivfit Means, a e-book on practical health.
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Studies On Weight Loss And Asthma
One of the earlier studies to focus on asthma outcomes was conducted by Dixon et al in 1999. Asthma was assessed preoperatively and at least 12 months after surgery using a scaled asthma score based on severity, daily impact, medications needed, hospitalisation, sleep and exercise. Patients were categorised into mild, moderate or severe asthma based on the National Asthma Campaign criteria. Although 10 had a history of severe asthma at baseline, none had severe asthma at the 12 month follow-up. The impact of asthma on daily living activities improved by 50%. There was a 57% decline in the number of patients that needed daily medications from 14 to six after weight loss. The mean preoperative scaled asthma score of 44.5 decreased to 14.3 at follow-up . The investigators reported a correlation coefficient of 0.21 between per cent weight loss and improvement in asthma scores.
Macgregor and Greenberg in Australia described strong evidence of reversibility in their weight loss study. In a subset of five patients with asthma who had bariatic surgery, asthma symptoms improved following weight loss. The symptoms worsened after subjects regained some of their weight. Subsequently, the five patients underwent revisional surgery, lost weight again and the frequency of asthma symptoms decreased again. In the single patient in the study who did not lose weight despite surgery, the frequency of his asthma symptoms remained unchanged.
How To Manage Weight Loss When You Have Asthma
Achieving and maintaining a healthy weight may not be easy when you have asthma. This condition can make it difficult to exercise and stay active, which may lead to weight gain. Chest pain, wheezing, shortness of breath, and other asthma symptoms can affect your ability to run, swim, or walk long distances, resulting in decreased fitness. On top of that, some people experience coughing during exercise, notes the American College of Allergy, Asthma, and Immunology.
In some cases, physical activity may trigger asthma symptoms. For example, running or jogging in cold, dry weather can cause the airways to narrow and worsen your condition, according to Asthma and Lung UK. Cigarette smoke, pollen, dust, and other environmental factors can further affect breathing during exercise. On the positive side, you may be able to prevent these issues by using an inhaler.
While it’s possible to lose weight through diet alone, you should still commit to regular exercise. A study published in the European Respiratory Journal found that physical activity can improve asthma control in just three months. Over time, it can boost lung function and mental well-being while reducing the need for medications. What’s more, regular exercise facilitates weight loss, which may help ease your symptoms. “For both adults and children, asthma is harder to control if you’re overweight or obese,” said Dr. Andy Whittamore, a primary healthcare provider at Asthma and Lung UK.
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Weight Loss And Use Of Respiratory Medication
Obesity is not only associated with increased morbidity rates, but also with increased pharmaceutical costs. Narbro et al studied medication changes over six years in 510 surgically and 455 conventionally treated patients from the Swedish Obese Subjects intervention study, and reported that, compared to baseline, asthma medication costs were lower for the surgically treated group of patients. These observations have been confirmed in a recent study by Sikka et al of respiratory prescription drug claims in 64 asthma patients over a two-year period : it showed a 49% decrease in respiratory medication prescription fills.
Reddy et al studied the effects of bariatric surgery on asthma severity, defined as intensity of asthma therapy, in 2,562 patients reporting use of asthma medication at baseline. Among the 257 asthma patients who participated in a one-year follow-up survey, 13 of 28 patients had been weaned from long-term oral corticosteroid therapy and the use of inhaled corticosteroids decreased from approximately 50% to 30%, suggesting that bariatric surgery decreases the medication requirements for control of asthma symptoms. Objective measures of asthma control were not included in the study. These findings are further supported by a study by Sultan et al looking at the outcome of bariatric surgery in individuals with a BMI < 35, as well as by a study by Ahroni et al.
Eating Protein For Breakfast
Protein can regulate appetite hormones to help people feel full. This is mostly due to a decrease in the hunger hormone ghrelin and a rise in the satiety hormones peptide YY, GLP-1, and
beverages rather than food.
Refined carbohydrates are heavily processed foods that no longer contain fiber and other nutrients. These include white rice, bread, and pasta.
These foods are quick to digest, and they convert to glucose rapidly.
Excess glucose enters the blood and provokes the hormone insulin, which promotes fat storage in the adipose tissue. This contributes to weight gain.
Where possible, people should swap processed and sugary foods for more healthful options. Good food swaps include:
- whole-grain rice, bread, and pasta instead of the white versions
- fruit, nuts, and seeds instead of high-sugar snacks
- herb teas and fruit-infused water instead of high-sugar sodas
- smoothies with water or milk instead of fruit juice
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Lighten The Asthma Load
Being overweight can make asthma harder to manage. Carrying extra weight puts extra strain on your lungs, and might also worsen your asthma.
If you are overweight, losing just 5-10% of your current weight might really improve your asthma, so you get fewer asthma symptoms and use less medication.
Breathing problems during sleep are common among people who are overweight, and can make asthma harder to manage. If you snore or don’t feel refreshed after a night’s sleep, talk to your doctor.
Weights Connection To Asthma
Its unclear why, but the risk of asthma is even greater among women who are overweight or obese. About 8% of women considered lean have asthma, compared to almost 15% of women considered obese.
Rates are also higher in obese African American and Hispanic men.
Studies show that simply having more fatty tissue can increase your overall amount of inflammation, and metabolic abnormalities may lead to changes in the lungs that contribute to respiratory diseasesincluding asthma.
Carrying additional weight in and of itself can make breathing more difficult by compressing your lungs, potentially making existing asthma worse and symptoms harder to cope with and manage.
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Doing The Best Types Of Exercise For Asthma
How Common Is Severe Asthma
It is estimated that as many as 250,000 Canadians suffer from Severe Asthma. Fatalities are higher in this group compared to patients with mild-to-moderate disease. Each year, about 250 Canadians die from asthma. Globally, 250,000 patients with asthma die prematurely on an annual basis because of their condition.
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Vitamin D In Foods And Supplements
Some evidence suggests that low levels of vitamin D have links to an increased risk of asthma episodes in children and adults. It also indicates that taking a vitamin D supplement every day can significantly reduce the risk of hospital admission for a severe asthma episode.
Vitamin D may also support lung function and reduce upper respiratory infections, such as the common cold.
Vitamin D occurs naturally in , so most people in the U.S. get their dietary vitamin D from fortified foods, such as breakfast cereals, yogurt, and orange juice.
Some good food sources of vitamin D include:
- fatty fish, such as salmon, tuna, and mackerel
The American Lung Association has identified several key foods, beverages, and other substances that people with asthma may wish to avoid because they may worsen the symptoms of the condition.
For example, people may wish to avoid:
- allergens, which can vary among individuals
- fast foods, which tend to be highly processed
The following sections provide more detail about how these items can affect people with asthma.
When To Consider Weight Loss Surgery
Several studies have suggested that weight loss from bariatric surgery improves asthma control in patients with obesity.
One study stated that asthma medication refills decreased by as much as 50% following bariatric surgery, and asthma patients have shown a decrease in symptoms and improvements in pulmonary function tests five years following their procedures.
While these reports are promising, bariatric surgery is a fairly radical step and shouldn’t be viewed as an easy solution. The procedure comes with considerable risks and complications.
For starters, surgery isn’t really an alternative to diet and exercise, but rather something that’s added to them. The post-surgery requirements are a big commitment, and the surgery’s success largely hinges on how well they are adhered to.
On the other hand, if you have severe asthma and haven’t been able to lose weight through diet and exercise, this may be the right step for you. Discuss the risks and benefits with a healthcare provider. It’s a decision that bears thoughtful consideration with an eye on what’s best for your overall health.
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Bariatric Surgery Weight Loss And Asthma Control
The first study investigating the effect of surgically induced weight loss on asthma was published by Macgregor and Greenberg in 1993. Forty morbidly obese patients with asthma who had gastric restrictive surgery more than two years earlier were examined, and they found that 48% had complete asthma remission, defined as no symptoms and no use of asthma medication overall, 90% of the patients experienced improvement in asthma symptoms. Objective assessment of airway function was not included in the study. In keeping with this, Murr et al reported a 100% remission rate after an average 30 months after bariatric surgery in a very small group of morbidly obese asthmatics older than 50 years, although it should be taken into account that asthma status was not the main outcome variable of interest.
Potential Mechanisms For Improved Asthma Status
In this section, we briefly review variables that may mediate or confound the association between weight loss and improved asthma . Understanding or refuting each pathway requires a better understanding of the variables that may be involved in the weight lossasthma link.
Box 1 Proposed variables in the asthma and weight loss relationship
Mediators or confounders
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