Being overweight or obese does not make asthma worse in patients with mild and moderate forms of the disease, according to a study by National Jewish Health researchers, although it may reduce the response to medications.
"With both asthma and obesity on the rise in recent years, there has been much interest in the possible link between these two conditions," said lead author E. Rand Sutherland, Associate Professor of Medicine at National Jewish Health. "By studying a well characterized group of patients with asthma, we were able to determine that increased weight is not associated with more severe asthma. Although benefits can be obtained with weight loss in other diseases, these findings suggest that an improvement in asthma may not necessarily result from weight loss."
"The findings also suggest that patients and physicians should be aware that obese asthma patients may not respond well to corticosteroids, the most successful controller medication for asthma, which can affect dosing decisions and choices of possible alternatives to steroids."
Previous studies have suggested that obesity predisposes people to developing asthma, to suffer more severe asthma symptoms, and to respond less to medications. However, the exact mechanism for these links has been unclear, and the studies have generally relied upon patients' reports of their diagnosis and symptoms rather than using more precise tools to characterize patients.