Posted - January 29, 2010

Asthma May Vary with Weight

There may be a difference in how asthma affects people who are obese compared to sufferers who are of normal weight or overweight, according to a study conducted by Brian Schroer, MD, of the Cleveland Clinic.

Schroer conducted a retrospective analysis of 184 asthma patients, 71 of whom were obese. In reviewing the medical records of these patients, it was noted that only half of patients with well-controlled asthma were obese, compared to about two-thirds of patients who were considered to have uncontrolled asthma.

The study used the Asthma Control Test (ACT) to rate whether or not the disease was being controlled. Obese patients seemed more likely to have very poorly controlled asthma, defined as an ACT score of less than 15, rather than partially controlled asthma demonstrated by a score of between 20 and 15.

While researchers noted a difference in asthma control, obese patients did not have increased airway inflammation or constriction. There was also no significant difference in the ability to exhale.

One thought is that the difference between how asthma affects obese patients is a result of the additional weight carried on the abdomen. This excess weight can put pressure on the lungs, exacerbating asthma symptoms in obese patients.