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What Is the Correlation Between Obesity and Asthma?

Alexander Singh
June 6, 2022

A key risk factor for the emergence of Asthma is obesity. Those who are obese are more likely to have Asthma than lean adults. In children and adults, obesity results in a 2.0- and 2.3-fold increase in the prevalence of Asthma, respectively. Furthermore, it is found that elevated body mass index has significant dose-dependent effects on Asthma. 

Wheeze, cough, shortness of breath, and nocturnal symptoms are all common asthma symptoms, whether you're obese or not. However, obesity may make some symptoms, especially dyspnea, more severe.

Because they are less sensitive to corticosteroids and display a distinct inflammatory profile, obese asthmatic patients are frequently classified as severe and poorly controlled patients. Chronic low-grade systemic inflammation linked to obesity is thought to worsen systemic problems.

What Are The Dangers Of An Asthma Attack?

People with Asthma occasionally experience asthma attacks. Their airways shrink and swell; as a result, making it difficult for them to breathe. A serious asthma attack may even be fatal. During a severe asthma attack, you may not get enough oxygen into your lungs and can even stop breathing.

However, there are some basic symptoms and warning signs of Asthma that can trigger your lungs health and should not be ignored at all costs, such as: 

  • Difficulty while breathing
  • Wheezing or coughing 
  • Tightness in chest
  • Trouble while breathing

While severe asthma attacks can be fatal, they can appear suddenly, sometimes providing no time for the patient to recover or stabilize themselves. Following are some of the most crucial dangers of experiencing an asthma attack: 

  • Not being able to speak or communicate due to severe shortness of breath
  • The severe amount of strain while you try to breathe
  • Wheezing or breathlessness that increases rapidly and even worsens
  • Fingernails and lips turning bluish or grayish
  • No visible relief even after using a rescue inhaler

Ignoring these symptoms while they occur regularly can greatly push a person to deteriorate their health further, resulting in issues that can interrupt their daily life activities, such as: 

  • Absenteeism from school and work
  • Disruption in your daily chores and hobbies
  • Side effects from prolonged medications for Asthma
  • Permanent narrowing of the airways that can permanently affect your breathing pattern
  • Psychological side effects such as anxiety and depression
  • Multiple visits to the hospital and doctors

How Many Adults Have Asthma?

Asthma is one of the most common and prevalent diseases worldwide, especially in the US. Due to the increasing obesity rate worldwide, Asthma is also increasing at a very fast growth rate. There are over 25 million people in the United States who experience Asthma, which makes it equal to about 1 in every 13 people having Asthma.

However, the largest number of people having Asthma in the United States are adults, who are approximately 20 million in number and fall in the age of 18 years or above. While asthma disease is the highest in black adults in the US, it is more common in females than in male adults. Around 6.1% of male adults have Asthma in the US, and the number increases to 9.8 % for female adults having the same issue. 

On the other hand, asthma attacks are much more prevalent among adults than in any other age group. In a recent study, around 40.4% of adults reported experiencing asthma attacks one or more times in 2019. At the same time, black adults are still experiencing more asthma attacks than any other ethnicity.

What Percentage of Individuals Are Overweight? 

The obesity rate worldwide has nearly tripled since the year 1975. According to a previous study in 2016, over 1.9 billion adults 18 years and above had excessive weight. Among these people, about 650 million people had obesity. 

Being overweight and obese are two separate things. However, they are very closely connected. Being overweight can very quickly result in obesity. According to the set parameters of WHO (World Health Organization), a person is overweight if they have a BMI (body mass index) equal to or greater than 25. At the same time, an individual is considered having obesity if they have a BMI equal to or greater than 30. 

Being overweight can cause several other health issues in adults, such as increased cardiovascular disease, different kinds of cancers, and issues with bones, known as musculoskeletal disorders. 

How BMI Is Used To Classify Weight Categories?

Body mass index (BMI) is calculated by dividing a person's height in meters squared by their weight in kilograms. The BMI is a low-cost and simple method for determining a person's weight category, if they are overweight, underweight, have a healthy weight, or obese.

Although BMI does not measure fat in the body directly, it is still somehow linked with more precise measurements of body fat. Furthermore, these more precise body fat measurements appear to be just as closely linked with various metabolic and illness outcomes.

The following categories are used to classify weight using the BMI of any person: 

  • A BMI less than 18.5 indicates a person is underweight. 
  • A BMI between 18.5 and 25 makes a person seem healthy and fit. 
  • A BMI between the range of 25.0 and 30 indicates a person being overweight or having excessive weight. 
  • Lastly, a BMI above 30 makes a person fall in the obese category. 

How Many Adults With Obesity Have Asthma?

In addition to being a significant risk factor and a disease modifier for both children and adults with Asthma, obesity is a serious public health issue. Obese individuals have a higher risk of developing Asthma, and obese asthmatics experience a worse quality of life, greater symptoms, and more frequent and serious exacerbations.

Asthma is substantially more common in people with a BMI of 30 or above than in people with a lower BMI. Individuals with a BMI in the normal range have an asthma rate of 7%, but adults with an obese BMI have an asthma rate of 11%. This seems to be an issue mostly for women for unknown reasons, given that nearly 15% of obese females also have Asthma.

We do, however, know that people who are obese frequently use more drugs, experience worse symptoms, and have less control over their Asthma than those within a healthy weight range.

How Your Weight During Childhood Can Impact Your Chances of a Respiratory Condition

Obese children may have lower exercise tolerance and exhibit DOE (dyspnea on exertion), which could account for reports of low levels of physical activity and fitness. Excess fat places an undesirable burden on the respiratory system, especially during exercise. 

Low lung volume breathing, or a decrease in functional residual capacity (FRC) at rest and end-expiratory lung volume (EELV) during exercise, is the primary cause of the majority of the respiratory consequences in obese children.

Childhood obesity is becoming more common, with rates of 5.6% for girls and 7.8% for boys in the world. Numerous studies have shown that obesity is a significant, disease-modifying risk factor for some respiratory disorders, including Obstructive Sleep Apnea Syndrome and Asthma.

In obese asthmatic children, lung development appears to play different roles in decreased respiratory function than in adults. Education of the family and early lifestyle adjustments are essential for preventing obesity and its effects. A nutritious diet may result in an improvement in the quality of life for obese children with respiratory conditions.

Other Medical Issues Obese People Face

Nearly every element of health is negatively impacted by excess weight, especially obesity. It raises the dangers of many fatal and severe medical conditions, such as diabetes, heart disease, and various malignancies. Some of the most common health issues that are directly linked to obesity are: 

  • Diseases of gallbladder and gallstones
  • Gout
  • Osteoarthritis
  • Hypertension
  • Type 2 Diabetes
  • Increased risk of Cardiovascular Diseases
  • Sleep Apnea and Asthma
  • Higher Cholesterol Levels
  • Mental issues like anxiety, depression, and mental pressures

Will Losing Weight Help Reduce Your Asthma Symptoms? 

Weight loss is linked to a 48%–100% remission of asthma symptoms and asthma medication usage in obese people with doctor-diagnosed Asthma. Additionally, published studies show that losing weight helps obese asthmatics better control their condition and that weight loss surgery, in particular, has a significant positive impact on asthma severity, medication use, dyspnea, exercise patience, and acute exacerbations, including hospitalizations for Asthma. 

Furthermore, whereas no appreciable changes have been seen in exhaled nitric oxide or other markers of eosinophilic airway inflammation, weight loss in obese asthmatics is related to improvements in lung function and airway responsiveness to inhaled methacholine.

Learn More With Alfie

Asthma is greatly linked to being overweight and obese. Not only asthma and lung disorders but also many other medical issues that can result from excessive weight and obesity. In most cases changing lifestyle and eating preferences only helps a few people. 

For this reason, you can contact us at to join our online weight-loss program that provides medication that is FDA-approved, professional and skilled guidance from expert doctors, online help and support that is available 24/7, and support groups to help you in your weight-loss journey.