The Backstory On Intermittent Fasting
IF as a weight loss approach has been around in various forms for ages, but was highly popularized in 2012 by BBC broadcast journalist Dr. Michael Mosleys TV documentary Eat Fast, Live Longer and book The Fast Diet, followed by journalist Kate Harrisons book The 5:2 Diet based on her own experience, and subsequently by Dr. Jason Fungs 2016 bestseller The Obesity Code. IF generated a steady positive buzz as anecdotes of its effectiveness proliferated.
As a lifestyle-leaning research doctor, I needed to understand the science. The Obesity Code seemed the most evidence-based summary resource, and I loved it. Fung successfully combines plenty of research, his clinical experience, and sensible nutrition advice, and also addresses the socioeconomic forces conspiring to make us fat. He is very clear that we should eat more fruits and veggies, fiber, healthy protein, and fats, and avoid sugar, refined grains, processed foods, and for Gods sake, stop snacking. Check, check, check, I agree. The only part that was still questionable in my mind was the intermittent fasting part.
Reasons You Must Never Forget You Have Asthma
In the first season of “The Biggest Loser” one of the final contestants lost a ton of weight, and he proclaimed in his ebulient New York accent something like, “The best part of losing all this weight is: my asthma is gone. Gone! GONE!!!”
This happens to a lot of people. The reason is because asthma is a strange disease, in that it can be bothersome one minute, and then it can go into remission for days, weeks, months and even years. In essence, it can appear to be gone, and weight loss, if you are diagnosed with obesity can help to limit asthma.
Yet it’s not actually gone, it is likely in remission. And because it’s not you must continue to know you still have asthma, and you should continue to work with your doctor. That’s right: it’s a myth that asthma can simply resolve or go away.
In some cases your asthma may get so much better your doctor may actually allow you to quit taking your asthma medicines. Again, this simply means that your condition is in remission or a dormant-like state.
The following are some reasons your asthma might seem to be resolved, and why you must never forget you have it:
You are on the best asthma medicine: Some people have good control of their asthma because of the newer asthma medicines and treatments. Thus, if you stop taking your asthma controller medicines your asthma symptoms may come back.
Attitudes And Counseling Related To Weight Loss
Ford et al have, based on data from the Behavioural Risk Factor Surveillance System, reported that 27.3% out of 13,953 participants with current asthma had a BMI of 30, and that 72.9% of the obese participants with asthma reported trying to lose weight. Furthermore, 82.9% of obese participants receiving weight-loss advice reported trying to lose weight, compared to 63.8% among obese participants who had not received such advice. This study, therefore, illustrates, although so far not supported by other studies, the important role for health care professionals in educating their patients with asthma about the importance of weight control, and in assisting and supporting their overweight and obese patients with asthma in setting achievable weight goals.
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Asthma Drugs And Weight
Compounding the problem is the fact that certain asthma drugs can also make you hungrier. For instance, oral steroids that are typically used for serious asthma flare-ups can lead you to eat more. Worse, these drugs can slow down your metabolism and cause you to retain water. These factors can also lead to weight gain.
Ask The Allergist: How Weight Loss Helps Asthma
Q: I recently lost 10 pounds and noticed my asthma improved. What is the connection between weight and the respiratory system?
Maeve OConnor, MD: This is really a question of body mechanics. When you are overweight or obese, most excess weight is usually in the central area of the body, or the midsection. This can reduce your lung volume, making you not able to breathe as well.
Also, the foods you put in your body are an important factor. With obesity, theres often a pro-inflammatory diet that includes sugary, starchy foods. This can cause your body to release inflammatory hormones, such as leptin, that increase inflammation in the lungs and can lead to asthma symptoms.
Diseases that often occur with obesity, such as gastroesophageal reflux disease , diabetes and hypertension, have also been found to worsen asthma. So losing weight can also help you reduce the risk of developing these conditions.
Q: So losing 10 pounds can make a huge difference in a persons asthma symptoms?
Dr. OConnor: Absolutely. And as an added benefit, weight loss allows patients to be better able to exercise obviously the less weight you have, the easier it is to move around. Regular exercise has been shown to improve not only asthma symptoms but also asthma outcomes.
Q: What are some ways to lose weight so that it helps your asthma?
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Propranolol And Weight Gain
Certain beta-blockers like Propranolol can sometimes cause weight gain. However, this is unusual.
Propranolol weight gain is down to two reasons. Firstly, Propranolol very slightly reduces the bodys ability to burn fat. Secondly, Propranolol causes your body to retain more fluid than normal, leading to an increase in your body weight.
This weight gain isnt usually noticeable , and it is also far less likely at the dose used for anxiety treatment .
If you are worried about Propranolol and weight gain, there are a few things you can do. A healthy and balanced diet, as well as keeping up a regular exercise regime will help to maintain your weight. Lifestyle changes like this will also help to manage your anxiety too, so there are multiple benefits.
Acid Reflux And Asthma: Two Sides Of The Same Coin
If you have to much histamine dwelling your blood, it causes both acid reflux and asthma. Histamine stimulates acid production in your stomach and causes swelling in your lungs. If you are histamine intolerant, you need to change your diet to stop both conditions.
Recent investigation shows that acid reflux and allergies are linked. Histamine release is triggered by pro-inflammatory proteins, called cytokines. These cytokines play a role in the development of acid reflux, asthma and allergies.
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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.
Acid Reflux In A Nutshell
Most people will experience the uncomfortable feeling of esophageal burning at least once in their life. In some cases, the wave of digestive juices can literally take your breath away. This very unpleasant, yet quite common problem is called acid reflux.
Many still think that heartburn is caused by too much stomach acid. However, much like the flat earth theory, this is a misconception. Heartburn happens when the acidic digestive juices of your stomach re-enter the esophagus .
If this happens several times per week, it might be a sign of GastroEsophageal Reflux Disease , a condition in which the esophagus becomes inflamed from stomach acid damage. Symptoms of GERD include:
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Medications Obesity And Asthma
Weight can also affect asthma due to the different effects of medication usage. People who have asthma and a BMI over 30 respond differently to asthma medications, compared to people who have asthma and a lower BMI. Two examples of this are, “Obese people with asthma have worse asthma control when treated with theophylline, a drug used in therapy for asthma that relaxes bronchial smooth muscle. Other research groups have reported that obesity reduces the effectiveness of medications like inhaled corticosteroids.”2
So Is Intermittent Fasting As Good As It Sounds
I was very curious about this, so I asked the opinion of metabolic expert Dr. Deborah Wexler, Director of the Massachusetts General Hospital Diabetes Center and associate professor at Harvard Medical School. Here is what she told me. “There is evidence to suggest that the circadian rhythm fasting approach, where meals are restricted to an eight to 10-hour period of the daytime, is effective,” she confirmed, though generally she recommends that people “use an eating approach that works for them and is sustainable to them.”
So, heres the deal. There is some good scientific evidence suggesting that circadian rhythm fasting, when combined with a healthy diet and lifestyle, can be a particularly effective approach to weight loss, especially for people at risk for diabetes.
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Sometimes Asthma Can Cause Long
Airway Remodeling If you have asthma, your airways become inflamed, which causes them to swell and produce extra mucus. Unless youre able to control this inflammation with medication, it can ultimately lead to a permanent narrowing or other structural changes in the lungs bronchial tubes, Dr. Rosenstreich says.
This airway remodeling is irreversible and can affect how well you breathe. Some people may ultimately need to use an assistive device, like an oxygen machine, to breathe.
Its believed that everyone who has asthma experiences airway modeling to some degree, however, severe airway remodeling is rare. When inflammation in the lungs isnt properly controlled by therapy with corticosteroids or bronchodilators, scar tissue can form and the airways are no longer able to open up, even after using an inhaler, Rosenstreich says. It can begin shortly after the onset of asthma, which is why we encourage people to stick to their prescribed therapy.
Anxiety and Depression As with some other chronic diseases, asthma may increase your risk for anxiety and depression. Some research has found that people with asthma are nearly twice as likely to develop depression as those without asthma.
Some research suggests the psychological stress and negative emotions associated with asthma are what put individuals with asthma at higher risk for these mood disorders. Sleep disturbances and inflammatory factors associated with asthma may also contribute.
Control Asthma During Exercise
Once you decide which activities to incorporate into your weight-loss strategy, formulate an asthma action plan so you aren’t caught unprepared if symptoms should arise.
For example, always use your preventive asthma medications or an inhaler before exercise if prescribed by your healthcare provider. Also keep your rescue inhaler with you.
If you are working out at a gym, with a physical trainer, or a partner, make them aware of your asthma and what to do in an emergency.
Also be sure to:
- Monitor your surroundings for possible triggers
- Skip your workout if have a viral infection, such as a cold or the flu
- Exercise at a level that is appropriate for your overall health. As a precaution, always do less than you think you can until you are confident about how an activity will effect you.
If asthma symptoms arise or worsen when you are exercising, take a break and follow your asthma action plan. Do not push yourself so hard that you overlook warning signs of an asthma attack.
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How Losing Weight Could Be The Key To Controlling Asthma
- Asthma clinic nurse advised Sally Edwards, 45, from Kent, to lose weight
19:45 EDT, 17 February 2014 | Updated:
Sally sually avoided the scales, and was appalled to discover her weight had shot up to more than 11st
Sally Edwards was in for a shock when the nurse at her asthma clinic asked her to step on to the scales.
‘My doctor had retired and I changed to a new surgery where they had an asthma clinic,’ says Sally, 45, a hairdresser from Aldington in Kent.
‘They saw on my notes that I suffered from asthma, but this was the first time anyone in the medical profession had weighed me.’
‘She took a sharp breath and made a face, so I knew it wasn’t good news,’ says Sally.
Like many women, she usually avoided the scales, and was appalled to discover her weight had shot up to more than 11st. At only 5ft 2in tall this made her officially obese.
‘The problem was that I didn’t feel fat because the weight had crept on so gradually during and after my pregnancies,’ says Sally. ‘Then when the children left things on their plates, I’d pick at the leftovers.’
Sally was also struggling increasingly to manage her asthma, making simple tasks such as walking up the stairs and looking after her children, Maizie, now 12, and Merrin, nine, more difficult.
There is a clear link between obesity and asthma attacks, as Deborah Waddell, clinical lead nurse at the charity Asthma UK, explains: ‘Obese people find their asthma much harder to control.’
Can Losing Weight Help My Asthma
Diseases that often occur with obesity, such as gastroesophageal reflux disease , diabetes and hypertension, have also been found to worsen asthma. So losing weight can also help you reduce the risk of developing these conditions. Losing 10 pounds can make a huge difference in a persons asthma symptoms.
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What Causes The Link Between Gerd And Asthma
The mechanisms behind the association arent crystal-clear, but there are a few theories. One is that if someone has GERD, aspiration of stomach acid into the airways can cause irritation there, leading to breathing difficulties or a persistent cough.
If you have acid reflux and you regurgitate high enough, you can get a bronchospasm that can trigger asthma, Dr. Vaezi notes. Another theory is that acid reflux may trigger a protective nerve reflex that causes the airways to tighten in order to prevent the stomach acid from entering the lungs this can lead to a bronchospasm too.
There isnt a single test that can definitively identify reflux as the cause of asthma-like symptoms in those with GERD. But not responding to steroids is a big red flag to consider GERD in a patient with severe asthma, notes Kaiser Lim, MD, a consultant in pulmonary and critical care medicine at the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minnesota. To determine if reflux is exacerbating asthma, doctors typically consider a persons symptoms and their response to treatment. In terms of treatment, a doctor might prescribe aggressive use of acid-suppressing medication to see if the asthma-like symptoms improve, Vaezi says.
As I Work On Improving My Health I Need Help Managing The Symptoms I Am Having Now
Losing weight or taking steps to improve your health takes time and is a personal decision that includes a lot of factors. The goal is to identify and reduce all of your triggers. Tell your doctor when and where you have symptoms, such as at bedtime, or in your office. Ask how you can manage these symptoms to avoid a full-blown asthma episode.
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Weight’s Connection To Asthma
It’s 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.
Does Your Weight Affect Your Asthma
While studies cant fully explain the link between obesity and asthma, there is evidence that losing extra weight could help relieve asthma symptoms.
In Europe, nearly 10 million people under the age of 45 are living with asthma. There are many factors that might make your risk of developing asthma higher: genetics, allergies, or pollutants.
A growing body of research also underlines the connection between the onset of asthma in adulthood and lifestyle choices. Smoking or working in a career with chemical irritants are two factors that can increase the chance of developing asthma. Obesity is likewise considered as a risk factor, especially for women.
While it has been unclear which comes first if obesity leads to asthma or if asthma leads to weight gain recent studies have shown that both are possible.
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Does Being Overweight Affect Asthma
Have you ever asked yourself or your healthcare provider does weight affect asthma?
While it might not seem like much, gaining 5 just pounds has been shown to worsen asthma control and quality of life. In one study published in the journal Respiratory Medicine, gaining 5 pounds, compared to those who gained less or lost weight, was associated with:
- 22% poorer self-rated asthma control
- 18% poorer self-reported quality of life
- 31% increase in the odds of requiring a steroid burst
The authors concluded that strategies to prevent weight gain could help patients achieve better asthma control and improve asthma-related quality of life. A clearer understanding of the mechanisms by which body weight/BMI influences asthma control and other asthma-related outcomes will enable treatment specialists to formulate treatment programs that include a weight-management component.
In fact, few studies have rigorously examined treatments in overweight or obese asthmatics or the impact of weight loss in asthma.